The American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri filed a lawsuit on Tuesday for parents of two Wentzville school district students to prevent the removal of books about LGBTQ+ people, people of color, and other marginalized groups.
It comes after the school district removed eight books from the students’ school’s library. Those included The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison; Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic Paperback by Alison Bechdel; All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson; Heavy: An American Memoir by Kiese Laymon; Lawn Boy by Jonathan Evison; Gabi, A Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero; Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari; and Invisible Girl by Lisa Jewell.
These books were banned “because of officials’ dislike of the ideas contained in the Banned Books and with the intent and purpose to prescribe what is generally or traditionally accepted as right or true in matters of opinion,” according to the ACLU of Missouri’s lawsuit.
The group says in the lawsuit that the first amendment rights of the students were violated by suppressing the “ideas and viewpoints expressed” in the books.
“School boards cannot ban books because the books and their characters illustrate viewpoints different of those of school board; especially when they target books presenting the viewpoints of racial and sexual minorities, as they have done in Wentzville,” Anthony Rothert, director of integrated advocacy of ACLU of Missouri, said in a news release.
“The first amendment protects the right to share ideas, including the right of people to receive information and knowledge,” Rothert added. “We must protect this right, including educators’ and students’ rights to talk and learn about race and gender in schools.”
The school district told St. Louis Public Radio that it knew of the lawsuit but would not comment on it.