A Utah mayor confronted one of his local school boards about complaints from his constituents that school libraries contained “pornographic” books.
Riverton Mayor Trent Staggs said “scores of residents” reached out to him regarding “inappropriate materials” in Jordan School District libraries.
— Mayor Trent Staggs (@MayorStaggs) April 28, 2023
Riverton, Utah Mayor Trent Staggs takes a stand against inappropriate materials in school libraries, demanding the removal of 100+ explicit volumes. Read more about the fight for student safety and well-being here https://t.co/w2Zi7DIfWg#ProtectOurChildren #RivertonUT
— Kim Coulter (@coulterculture) April 28, 2023
Parents in the school district pointed to books like “Oryx and Crake,” “What Girls Are Made Of,” “Milk and Honey,” and “A Court of Silver Flames,” when expressing their complaints on social media.
“To a large extent, I need to tell you, they feel like they are not being heard,” Staggs said.
“This filth needs to be removed from our schools.”
“I see no justifiable reason for these to be in schools. None whatsoever. There’s absolutely no educational value that it’s providing. It’s just so destructive. We can’t protect every kid, everywhere, but we can right here in our own backyard,” Staggs added.
— Crisis in the Classroom (@CITClassroom) April 27, 2023
The National Desk reported:
Staggs, who has two children attending JSD, claims that more than 100 library books in the district violate state standards. A law passed last year prohibits any materials containing “pornographic or indecent” content from being placed in Utah public schools.
Staggs said that parents have also expressed frustrations with JSD’s current book review policy. Some feel that once a title is “banned” from one school, it should be taken out of the district entirely.
To seemingly both Staggs and parents, the books have the potential to harm students’ well-being. Staggs compared the issue to the COVID-19 pandemic, and he argued that JSD then welcomed enforcing masks for students’ “protection,” but is now failing to address a “very legitimate public health crisis” that was “recognized” in 2016.
It is not immediately clear what crisis Staggs was referring to. However, 2016 was the year Utah became the first U.S. state to declare pornography a public health hazard.
FOX 11 News also picked up the story:
A spokesperson for JSD told Crisis in the Classroom (CITC) that JSD recently updated its book review policy to better align with Utah standards.
“We follow this policy when reviewing, approving, or removing materials or books in our schools,” the spokesperson told CITC. “Our schools are a place where all are free to learn in a safe, welcoming environment. Student safety, health, and wellness is our top priority.”
In a statement to CITC, Staggs said elected officials “have a duty to protect our most vulnerable and make sure parents can rest easy knowing their children are receiving a good education free from indoctrinating or harm.”