The American Civil Liberties Union has taken issue with Davis School District for requiring parental permission for children to check out a homosexual advocacy book from the Utah district’s elementary school libraries, according to LifeSiteNews.com.
The book in question, “In Our Mothers’ House,” tells the story of children being raised by a lesbian couple. It first sparked controversy in January, when a mother complained to Windridge Elementary School after her kindergarten-age son brought the book home. A petition was circulated that 25 parents signed in protest.
According to Reuters, a parent-teacher committee voted 6-1 in April that the book could remain in library collections, but should be kept behind the counter instead of on shelves. They claimed the book didn’t comply with state law barring homosexual advocacy in the school curriculum.
A district spokesperson said “In Our Mothers’ House” was added to five of the district’s 50 elementary schools in June 2010 in an effort to foster inclusion after administrators learned that a Windridge student was being raised by a lesbian couple.
ACLU of Utah legal director John Mejia criticized the consent policy in a June 12 letter to Davis School District superintendent Bryan Bowles. He wrote that the group had “serious concerns about whether these actions comport with the First Amendment rights of the students in the district.”
The letter also disputes the claim that the book violates state law, maintaining that the law only applied to the school health curriculum, and that “it would be a stretch to say that [the book] ‘advocates homosexuality.’”
The Alliance Defense Fund responded with a letter of their own on Friday, emphasizing that administrators had not physically removed the book, only required parental consent to read it.
“The District is right to leave such decisions to them,” the ADF wrote in the letter. “It is ‘established beyond debate’ that ‘parents have the primary role…in the upbringing of their children.’”