Utah School District Unanimously Decides To Reverse Bible Removal

A number of largely Republican-led states have taken steps in recent years to remove books and other materials from grade school classrooms and libraries based on the assertion that they address age-inappropriate issues.

One Utah school district was roundly accused of taking such a policy too far, however, when it decided to remove the King James version of the Bible from all elementary and middle schools.

The move came in response to a parental complaint that the religious text is “one of the most sex-ridden books around” and contains material that runs afoul of the state’s ban on “pornographic or indecent” content.

Davis School District’s decision soon sparked a heated debate and fueled nationwide news coverage. Within weeks, the district cited numerous requests for an appeal in its ultimate ruling that the Bible should be returned to schools.

After considering the backlash from schools and concerned parents across the district, the board unanimously voted to overturn its previous decision. Liz Mumford, the board’s president, spoke out in favor of returning the Bible, which she said contains “serious literary, artistic, historical, and political value for minors.”

She added her assessment that “our policy could use some refinements and improvements.”

GOP state Rep. Ken Ivory has been a proponent of Utah’s law prohibiting certain material in younger grades and provided several examples of such content found in schools when he presented his case to lawmakers last year.

He dismissed a common complaint that the law amounts to book bans, calling it “an attempt to simply, you know, hyperbolize what’s going on” and insisting that “we’re simply clarifying age-appropriate limits.”

Although the board was united in its determination that the Bible was erroneously removed from schools, Ivory took a more nuanced position regarding whether he believed it should be included in school curriculum.

While he initially described the initial parental complaint as a “mockery” of the state’s effort to protect children from inappropriate material, he later issued a statement suggesting calling the Bible a “challenging read” — particularly for young kids — and asserted that it is “best taught, and best understood, in the home, around the hearth, as a family.”