(Official Washington Examiner editorial, May 24): An office that shouldn’t even exist in the Education Department , which, itself, should not exist, should not be telling local schools what books they must put on their library shelves.

The Democratic liberal news media and the organized Left also need a refresher course about what “book banning” means. They should stop applying that loaded term to parents’ efforts to protect their children.

At issue is a directive to a Georgia school district from the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights. It is a quintessential example of federal government overreach, for it cracks down on the district for creating a “hostile environment” of legally defined student “harassment.”

The directive is nonsense on every level. Usually, “harassment” involves actions expressing hostility, scorn, sexual suggestiveness, or abuse. Here, though, the Office for Civil Rights complains about the removal of materials that others deem injurious to children. The removal of books exploring sexual behavior or erotica, or ones promoting racial perspectives fraught with controversy, may or may not be wise. But an absence of ideas and depictions does not produce anything usually considered harassment, whether by the OCR or by the Justice Department….

This imbroglio involves Georgia’s Forsyth County’s schools removing eight books after parents complained they were inappropriate because, the superintendent later confirmed, they “were obviously sexually explicit or pornographic.” For the federal government to crack down on schools because the schools refuse to carry pornographic books is unconscionable.

So, this is not “book banning” or authoritarian. Nobody is trying to block the publication of these sexually explicit books. Nobody is trying to stop their sales. Nobody is trying to stop ordinary libraries from carrying them, although they might be labeled to give notice of their contents. Nobody is saying parents can’t buy or borrow books from libraries if they deem them appropriate for their children.

All that is involved is saying some books are, by community standards, age-inappropriate…. [The full editorial is here.]


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