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Weber v. Davis School District (2013)

12 January 2013 Published in Resolved Cases

The ACLU of Utah filed a lawsuit against the Davis School District after elementary schools in the district were instructed to remove a children’s book about a family with same-sex parents from library shelves. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of a mother whose children attend one of the schools where the book was restricted. On January 11, 2013, Davis School District sent a letter to it's librarians instructing them to return "In Our Mothers House" to the library shelves and not restrict access to the book unless specifically instructed by a child's parents. On January 31, 2013, the District agreed to to never again remove the book based solely on its content settling the lawsuit.

in-our-mothers-houseOn Tuesday, November 13, 2012, the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Utah filed a lawsuit against the Davis School District after elementary schools in the district were instructed to remove a children’s book about a family with same-sex parents from library shelves. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of a mother whose children attend one of the schools where the book was restricted.

The school district asserted that leaving the book on the shelves would violate Utah’s sex education law, which prohibits instructional materials containing “advocacy of homosexuality.” The lawsuit argued that library books are not instructional materials under the statute and that including library books depicting families with same-sex parents does not constitute endorsement or "advocacy of homosexuality."

On January 11, 2013, Davis School District sent a letter to it's librarians instructing them to return "In Our Mothers House" to the library shelves and not restrict access to the book unless specifically instructed by a child's parents. On January 31, 2013, the District agreed to to never again remove the book based solely on its content settling the lawsuit.

After Returning Book to Shelves, Utah School District Agrees Not to Remove Library Books Containing LGBT Content

January 31, 2013  – In the wake of its decision to return “In Our Mother’s’ House,” a book about a family with same-sex parents to the shelves of elementary schools, Davis School District in Utah has agreed to never again remove the book based solely on its content. The agreement settles a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Utah on behalf of a mother with children in the district that had remained pending after the book’s return.

November 13, 2012 -  The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Utah filed a lawsuit against the Davis School District after elementary schools in the district were instructed to remove a children's book about a family with same-sex parents from library shelves.

Read a national ACLU blog post: You Can’t Hide Families Behind The Desk: How Utah School Officials Are Violating The First Amendment In Library Book Case >> 
Read a Salt Lake Tribune Article: Davis School District Sued over Flap about lesbian mothers book >>

ACLU of Utah is Looking for Parents of Elementary Students in Davis School District

August 7, 2012 

If you or someone you know is the parent of a child in one of Davis School District elementary schools listed at the end of this post, we'd like to hear from you.   As you may recall, we've been investigating the District's removal of the book "In Our Mothers' House" from the shelves of school libraries and requiring parental permission to check it out. For school administrators to place restrictions on a library book because they disagree with its message is viewpoint discrimination, and violates the First Amendment.  We would like to speak to parents with children at Parkside Elementary School in Clinton, Windridge Elementary School in Kaysville, Snow Horse Elementary School in Kaysville or South Weber Elementary School in South Weber, where the book was removed. Our conversations will be confidential.  Please call John Mejia at (801) 521-9862 x.108 or email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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02 July 2012 Published in Weber v. Davis School District
 
 
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ACLU of Utah Emphasizes Concerns to Davis School District, Makes GRAMA Request

22 June 2012 Published in Weber v. Davis School District
 

For Immediate Release June 22, 2012 SALT LAKE CITY— Late yesterday, the ACLU of Utah sent a letter to Superintendent Bryan Bowles and Legal Issues Specialist Michelle Beus of the Davis School District reemphasizing its grave constitutional and statutory concerns raised by limiting access to “In Our Mothers’ House” in school libraries. Enclosed with the letter is a GRAMA request seeking records relating to the decision to remove the book, including the minutes and recording of the Library Steering Committee meeting at which the decision was made. The request also seeks records relating to the removal or restriction of any other book in school libraries. “We appreciate the District’s willingness to work with us on this issue, and we had started an informal dialogue to understand the district’s actions and to communicate our concerns,” said John Mejia, Legal Director of the ACLU of Utah. “We feel that at this point, more formal correspondence and a request for records will be useful in moving the process along.”

 
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ACLU of Utah Reaches Out To Davis School District To Discuss Constitutional Requirements

12 June 2012 Published in Weber v. Davis School District
 
 

June 12, 2012 SALT LAKE CITY— Today the ACLU of Utah sent a letter to Superintendent Bryan Bowles of the Davis School District to request a meeting to discuss the constitutional implications of the district’s recent removal of the book “Our Mothers’ House,” by Patricia Polacco, from the shelves of a school in the district. “Federal courts have consistently concluded that the First Amendment protects student access to books in their school libraries, free from limits based on the administration’s disagreement with the viewpoints expressed in the books,” said John Mejia, Legal Director of the ACLU of Utah. “From what we know of the district’s removal of the book, we have serious concerns that the district may have fallen short of these protections.” In the letter, the ACLU of Utah pointed to several cases in which courts have ruled that the First Amendment prevents schools from limiting student access to library materials containing portrayals of LGBT people and noted that this situation is factually similar to those cases. The letter further casts doubt on whether the removal of the book is justified by Utah statute and concludes with a request for a meeting between the ACLU of…

 
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12 June 2012 Published in Weber v. Davis School District
 
 
 
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