Utah’s Davis School District has removed the Bible from the libraries of its elementary and middle schools, citing passages describing sex and violence as inappropriate for those age groups. The decision has created a national stir since its announcement.
The process began when a parent filed a challenge to the continued presence of the Bible in school libraries, The Salt Lake Tribune reported.
The complaint argued that the Bible, as “one of the most sex-ridden books around,” features multiple instances of content including incest, onanism, bestiality, prostitution, genital mutilation, rape and infanticide. The complainant further asserted that such content clearly violates the Utah Code Ann. § 76-10-1227 passed in 2022, which bans books with “pornographic or indecent” content from schools.
In response, the district formed a committee to review the Bible and its appropriateness for student access. After a detailed investigation, the committee announced its decision.
The Bible will remain on the shelves of high schools in the district but will be removed from the libraries of elementary and middle schools.
Christopher Williams, spokesperson for the Davis School District, was quoted as saying that the decision would take effect immediately.
It is believed that seven or eight elementary and middle schools within the district currently hold copies of the Bible that will be removed.
As it stands, Davis School District libraries hold other religious texts, such as the Book of Mormon, Torah and Quran, available for students to check out without age restrictions. These have yet to face challenges similar to the Bible.
Following the removal of the Bible from many Davis School District libraries, a request was made to ban the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' Book of Mormon due to its violent content. This religious text, deemed “a volume of holy scripture comparable to the Bible” by the LDS, will now face a review to determine its suitability for school libraries.
The Bible challenge and subsequent review occurred amid a nationwide wave of book removals from school libraries.
Under the same Utah Code, books such as The Bluest Eye by Nobel Prize-winning author Toni Morrison and Gender Queer, a graphic novel exploring the author’s journey of self-identity, have also been removed from Utah schools.
Although the committee did not find the Bible to contain “sensitive material” as defined by the Utah code, the decision to limit the book’s availability was based on the age appropriateness of its content, Fox 13 reported.
The decision has faced backlash, with one parent appealing to keep the Bible accessible for students of all ages.
In response, the district will form a new committee consisting of three members of its Board of Education. The committee will review both the original complaint and the appeal and make a recommendation to the full board, who will make the final decision in a forthcoming public meeting.
The challenging of religious texts within the school district has sparked national debate and brought further attention to the ongoing discussions about the appropriateness of book content in schools.