A North Carolina school board has taken 41 books off the shelves in their libraries to review them for student-appropriate content, including iconic fictional titles such as Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegaut and Brave New World by Aldous Huxley.
The local news website PortCityDaily.com reported that the Pender County school board voted unanimously to remove the books for review. Pender County is just west of Wilmington, N.C.
Several other books on the list of 42 books involved LGBTQ issues or authors, including Gender Queer: A Memoir, a 2019 book that has been banned in other school districts. However, Gender Queer is not in the Pender County schools.
Although no parental complaints directly led to the vote, a group of parents had expressed concern in the past regarding about 100 books in the school libraries, Port City Daily reported. Parents have argued that the books are not protected by the First Amendment and meet obscenity definitions in North Carolina law and the Miller test used by the U.S. Supreme Court to define obscenity.
One parent, Mike Korn, said his group had received information from the Pavement Education Project, a North Carolina group that describes itself this way:
"The Pavement Education Project was formed in response to sexually related books and instructional materials in public schools that are emotionally, mentally, and physically harmful to children, as evidenced by rising rates of depression and other psychological disorders. The content of said materials ranges from explicit to inexplicit sexual activities including but not limited to rape, incest, and hookup dating."
Korn reportedly said he hadn’t read any of the books. Several citizens who called into the meeting opposed removing books, while others supported the review.
District officials said the books will go through their normal internal review on the basis of educational suitability, age and grade-level appropriateness, and whether the content is “pervasively vulgar.”
Obscenity and Pornography | The First Amendment Encyclopedia (mtsu.edu)
This Rural Virginia County Is A ‘Testing Ground’ For Book Banning (yahoo.com)