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Davis School District officials say Bible can stay, at least for now

By Tim Vandenack - | Jun 1, 2023

Isaac Hale, Daily Herald file photo

The Bible rests on a pew at the Springville Community Presbyterian Church on Thursday, Oct. 1, 2020.

FARMINGTON — The Bible can stay on some Davis School District bookshelves, at least for now.

A special committee tasked with reviewing books to decide if they should be pulled from shelves because of sexual content in their pages determined last week that the religious book can stay, according to an online database of book challenges in the school system. Somebody affiliated with Davis High School in Kaysville lodged the original challenge on Dec. 11, 2022.

However, the decision was appealed on Wednesday, according to the database, meaning it will face further scrutiny by an appeals committee. Moreover, the decision seemingly applies only to high school libraries in the district.

Davis School District officials didn’t immediately respond to queries Wednesday seeking comment, but the boilerplate language used in the online database indicates that members of the review committee didn’t think the Bible violated state code governing the sorts of books that should be prohibited in schools because of sexual language.

“The district review committee reviewed the book in its entirety and determined that the book does not contain sensitive material as defined in Utah Code § 76-10-1227, § 76-10-1201 or § 76-10-1203. Therefore, according to Utah law, the book has been retained in school library circulation,” reads the database.

The online records say the Bible should be retained in high schools, but make no mention of junior high schools or elementary schools. Thus, it’s not clear if the book is allowed in other school buildings.

Passage of House Bill 374 last year requiring rigorous new rules to root out “sensitive materials” in public school libraries has spurred numerous bids across Utah targeting literature with content some critics view as overtly sexual. In response, an apparent critic of the bill and calls by others to remove books from school shelves took aim at the measure, asking last December that the Bible be banned from Davis School District libraries.

In an alternately sarcastic, tongue-in-cheek and scathing explanation that takes aim at Utah Parents United for the books that organization targets as inappropriate for students, the person noted sexual references in the Bible. Utah Parents United is a conservative parents organization and its members have expressed support for H.B. 374.

“You’ll no doubt find that the Bible, under Utah Code Ann. 76-10-1227 has ‘no serious values for minors’ because it’s pornographic by our new definition. Get this PORN out of our schools!” the person wrote in their request for review of the book. The person’s name was redacted by Davis School District officials from a copy of the challenge provided to the Standard-Examiner last March.

The challenge noted that some passages of the Bible touch on such themes as incest, bestiality, prostitution, genital mutilation and more.


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