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Education

ACLU-MS speaks out against Madison County book restrictions

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library shelf books
Photo by Element5 Digital

This month, Madison County school officials placed over 20 books in restricted circulation, after a group of parents complained about the content. Now, students must have parental permission to check out one of the restricted books in the district’s elementary, middle, and high school libraries.

ACLU of Mississippi LGBTQ Justice Project Staff Attorney McKenna Raney-Gray, issued the following statement in response:

“Because some parents disagree with the ideas in them, the Madison County school board has placed 22 books—nearly 80% of which are by authors of color or have LGBTQ content—in a special category called “restricted circulation,” requiring permission from a parent or guardian to permit the student to check the book out.

All students have the right to read and learn about diverse topics and viewpoints—including their own identity—inside and outside of the classroom.

Restricting access to books in school libraries—places that are central to our abilities to explore ideas, encounter new perspectives, and learn to think for ourselves—is a misguided attempt to try to suppress that right. It allows some parents to decide for all parents in Madison County what ideas to which their children are exposed.”

Books Placed in Restricted Circulation

  • By a Black author:
    • “Black Friend: On Being a Better White Person” by Frederick Joseph
    • “The Bluest Eye” by Toni Morrison
    • “Dear Martin” by Nic Stone
    • “Discovering Wes Moore” by Wes Moore
    • “The Hate U Give” by Angie Thomas
    • “Let Me Hear a Rhyme” by Tiffany D. Jackson
    • “Monday’s Not Coming” by Tiffany D. Jackson
    • “Piecing Me Together” by Renee Watson
  • With LGBTQ content:
    • “Queer, There, & Everywhere” by Sarah Prager
  • By an author of color or with race content:
    • “Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” by Sherman Alexie
    • “All American Boys” by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely
    • “American Born Chinese” by Gene Luen Yang
    • “I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter” by Erika Sánchez
    • “Kite Runner” by Khaled Hosseini
    • “Love, Hate, and Other Filters” by Samira Ahmed
    • “Out of Darkness” by Ashley Hope Pérez
  • Other books:
    • “The Benefits of Being an Octopus” by Ann Braden
    • “Eleanor and Park” by Rainbow Rowell
    • “Speak” by Laurie Halse Anderson
    • “Touching Spirit Bear” by Ben Mikaelsen
    • “Uglies” by Scott Westerfeld
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