NC Values Coalition calls on state lawmakers to ban some books from public school libraries

Michael Perchick Image
Thursday, May 16, 2024
NC group pushes lawmakers to ban some books from public schools
A conservative political group held a day of activism Wednesday where it called on lawmakers to ban certain books from schools.

CARTHAGE, N.C. (WTVD) -- A conservative political group held a day of activism Wednesday where it called on lawmakers to ban certain books from schools.

"It's not about banning books. It's about selecting the proper materials that are appropriate," Tami Fitzgerald said.

Fitzgerald is the Executive Director of NC Values Coalition, a conservative Christian lobbying group that can often be found advocating on hot-button issues.

The latest issue the group set its sights on is the availability of reading materials in public schools that group members deem inappropriate. How that objectionability is determined remains a source of debate.

Fitzgerald said some books in schools include sexually graphic content. The American Library Association's list of top 10 most targeted books revealed that the books most often challenged contained LGBTQ content.

"This is not about targeting one specific set of people. This is about saying it is inappropriate to teach sexual acts, of whatever nature they are, in school," Fitzgerald said.

Speakers at NC Values Coalition Day of Action said local Boards of Education had not adequately responded to their concerns.

Cheryl Caulfield agrees. She serves on the Wake County Board of Education and said she has tried to compromise with other board members on this type of content and offered this suggestion:

"When you go to the library, you have different sections for different books. So you can have this content, the books that have this content that's questionable, with parent permission slips," Caulfield said.

NC Values Coalition is now looking to get state lawmakers to establish guidelines to determine what material is considered appropriate for certain ages.

Fitzgerald said her group is working to add these guidelines onto a bill making its way through the committee. Although she did not share any specifics on what bill or when the guidelines will be added.

This push comes less than a year after lawmakers passed the Parents Bill of Rights, which prohibits any public school curriculum on gender identity or sexuality through at least fourth grade. It was a law NC Values Coalition supported.

"There's already a process for review of material that people may find problematic, and this Bill of Rights and the way that the implementation guidance was sent to principals just takes it too far," PFLAG Southern Pines Treasurer Kristen Parker said.

PFLAG Southern Pines believes Moore County Schools has gone too far in its enforcement of the new law. The group said the school district removed books that did not have explicit material but instead featured homosexual parents as characters.

"We cannot let these clear violations go unnoticed and unchallenged, because if we do, what's the next marginalized community that they're going to strike?" PFGLAG Southern Pines President Erica Street said.

The group has filed a Title IX federal complaint with the US Department of Education Office for Civil Rights.

"We do have students in our school system who come from same-sex families, and they deserve to see their family represented in books, in their classroom," Alexa Roberts said.

Moore County Schools released the following statement about the federal complaint:

"Moore County Schools were advised on Tuesday, May 14, by PFLAG Southern Pines that it was filing a Title IX complaint against the District with the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR). The District has not yet received anything from OCR. The District did receive a copy of the Complaint from PFLAG on Tuesday, May 14. Several weeks ago, PFLAG filed a separate complaint with the District, which has been under review. PFLAG was advised in writing on May 2, 2024, that its concerns were being considered, that the complaints were undergoing a legal review and that the District would be back in touch once that review was completed. The Moore County Board of Education adopted Policy 5416: Parents' Bill of Rights on April 17, 2023. Moore County Schools recognize the equality and rights of all persons and seek to ensure that all students, teachers, administrators, and other school employees respect the dignity, rights, and differing opinions of others. Our legal counsel will address the OCR Complaint."