The US Education Department has decided to intervene in the ongoing banning of books that feature Black and LGBTQ+ student-characters across conservative states. Recently, the Education Department concluded its first civil rights investigations involving Georgia school districts that took action in removing such types of books in K12 libraries.
In its investigations, the department found out that the process of removal in Georgia districts was based on negative comments voiced by parents against sexual orientations, gender identity and diversity as well as the so-called critical race theory.
According to the civil rights investigators deployed by the Education Department, the removal of books with sex, gender and race themes, along with the negative comments of parents advocating for the book removals, the situation is likely to create a hostile environment for the affected students.
House Democrats Urged the Education Department to Act on the Book Banning Issues
The move to investigate the book removal policies and actions were instigated by some members of US House Democrats. They sent a missive to incumbent Education Secretary Miguel Cardona and Asst. Secretary for Civil Rights, Catherine Lhamon.
Through the letter, House Democrats explained that book removal policies violate first amendment rights of students and limits their capaability to access and obtain quality education. More importantly, the school districts overlook the fact that students have no protection in a hostile environment that will be fueled by the book removal policies targeting those regarded as having gender, sexual orientation and race issues.