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‘Book Killers’: NC Schools See An Uptick In Book Challenges

Source: Editorial Board

Another wave of book bans is making its way across public schools in North Carolina. Many of these book challenges are being prompted by far-right education groups

In Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, two books from libraries at Palisades High and West Charlotte High were banned after Brooke Weiss, leader of the far-right group Moms for Liberty-Mecklenburg, emailed school board members, according to The News & Observer.

With chapters across the U.S., Moms for Liberty has stationed itself in several key school districts across North Carolina; pushing forth challenges against Black, Brown and LGBTQ+ focused books, classroom discussions on topics such as race, gender, and sexuality, and supporting extremist Republicans that echo anti-CRT and anti-LGBTQ+ sentiments. 

A recent editorial in The Fayetteville Observer calls out these “book killers”, as Cumberland County Schools are experiencing their own book challenges. After complaints were made, the county formed a committee and put more than 80 titles under review – many of which featured Black, Brown and LGBTQ+ voices.

“Almost 40% of the books removed were by Black, indigenous and people of color. Another 22% had LGBTQ characters,” stated Carmela McKellar-Smith during a county school board meeting. 

“Imagine my shock when I heard the results of the book review committee,” she added. “A game of semantics was played at the expense of our children”.

Cumberland County Schools isn’t alone in seeing an uptick; Pender County Schools has removed more than three dozen books that are on a list for internal review.

According to Port City Daily, the books have not been challenged by parents, rather, Republican school board member Brent Springer made the motion to remove the books as they undergo review.

“For the book killers, it’s not about the books. It’s about trying to force us to conform to their worldview,” wrote Myron B. Pitts in his latest Fayetteville Observer editorial. “I say “book killers” vs “book banners” because a book is just pages and a cover, or characters and images on a screen. Book bans are about killing ideas, and for preventing other people from discovering those ideas.”

A report from PEN American found that from July 2021 to June 2022, more than 2,532 instances of individual books being banned occurred, affecting 1,648 unique book titles. Among the report’s 1,648 unique banned book titles, 41 percent address LGBTQ+ themes or have protagonists or prominent secondary characters who are LGBTQ+. Another 40 percent contained BIPOC protagonists or prominent secondary characters.


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