Northern Justice Project, ACLU sues Mat-Su schools for putting 56 out of 600,000 books into a review committee

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Northern Justice Project and the American Civil Liberties Union of Alaska filed a constitutional lawsuit against the Mat-Su Borough School District for putting 56 books from school libraries into a review committee to determine suitability for different grade levels.

The 56 books, out of school collections that have over 600,000 titles, had been removed after being flagged by members of the community as deserving of review by the district’s Library Committee, which is now in the process of reviewing the books.

Two out of 600,000 books in the district school libraries were removed by the superintendent, using his own judgment about the books’ liability they carried for being pornographic in nature.

The lawsuit, filed Friday, says that because the books are removed, the First and Fourteenth Amendment rights of students in the Mat-Su School District are being violated.

The suit was filed on behalf of eight plaintiffs, including six parents of minor children and two current district students over the age of 18, who claim that the review of the books violates their First and Fourteenth Amendment rights under the United States Constitution to free speech, press, and political expression. 

The press release from Northern Justice Project and ACLU makes no mention of the fact that the books have not been removed permanently, but that a committee is responding to parent and community concerns by taking those concerns seriously and reviewing the books, with an eye toward possibly classifying them for different ages.

For example, several of the books are on the theme of rape, and some of the books are about the rape of children, such as Khaled Hosseini’s “The Kite Runner” and Toni Morrison’s “The Bluest Eye.”

At least one of the books that were removed for review have never been checked out of the library — at least not in the past decade, according to computer records.

“The removed books also include books with protagonists of color or LGBTQ+ protagonists and non-fiction reference materials discussing adolescent health and development,” the litigants said in their press release.

The list of the removed books can be found here.  

Plaintiffs in this case are asking the court to reinstate all 56 removed books to school libraries, and asking the court to rule that the committee review process is unconstitutional.

In other words, there can be no standards of decency set for school library materials, according to the litigants. Playboy magazine, adult books of a sexual nature, and graphic novel depicting rape and incest — all would be allowed if Northern Justice Project and the ACLU were in charge of schools.

The library committee was established also to protect librarians and teachers from lawsuits. In a state where there is a high degree of sexual assault of children, a teacher who assigns a book about child rape is introducing literature into classrooms where there are likely more than one victim of these kinds of crimes. If a guardian complains, the teacher or librarian could face civil penalties or even lose their license.

“All students have a constitutional right to inquire, to study, and to gain a deeper understanding of themselves and their world.  As the Supreme Court ruled over 40 years ago, ‘the school library is the principal locus of that freedom.’ Mat-Su School District needs to respect that right,” said Northern Justice Project’s Savannah Fletcher, advocating for no limits to pornographic material for children.

“The District acted in a way that put its personal views and prejudices ahead of the fundamental rights afforded to Alaskan students. Removing classic reads and award-winning literature from bookshelves violates students’ rights to receive ideas and information. This is a foundational component of the rights of young Alaskans to exercise freedom of speech, press, and political expression. Book banning in any public setting is unacceptable,”  said the ACLU’s Ruth Bostein, also advocating for unlimited pornography for children.

“As a parent to a biracial child, my child needs to be represented in books. I believe that book banning only further promotes intolerance, suppression of ideas or information, and creates seclusion making at-risk youth all the more at-risk. I am joining this lawsuit to send the School District the message: enough is enough,” said plaintiff Dawn Adams, who is associated with the Mat-Su Health Foundation’s R.O.C.K. Mat-Su program to end child maltreatment.

The timing of the lawsuit is key. It comes after the liberal candidates for the Mat-Su School Board lost to the conservative candidates during the November borough elections.

23 COMMENTS

  1. I hope that people that have children who have been negatively affected by the books will bring counter lawsuits against these idiots. I wonder if the AK AG is going to get involved on this one?

    • Agree. Perhaps the ACLU and Northern “Justice” Project should be sued or charged for being purveyors of pornographic material to children.

  2. Books not placed in the school libraries, due to subject matter that is not typical of the developmental age group, is not a book ban. Other avenues of reading persuasion exist. There was a time, (if you out-read the available selection deemed appropriate for the age cohort), when parents marched their children into the public library to obtain a library card that allowed access to the junior and adult sections. Sections of the library were based on age but could be overridden with parental permission. This is back in the days where parents yelled, “get out of your book and come and join the family and interact.” Ultimately unscrewing the lightbulb in the center of the ceiling of the child’s bedroom. Sure kids talked to parents, with their newfound counterculture views, and families had dialog.

    • Exactly. The “banned books” cry by the left and msm is a lie. Basic illusory truth effect which is repeating a falsehood loud and often enough to cause people to believe it as fact.

  3. I’m curious about why SD chose an illustration from a book that is not on the list of books that were removed from circulation in Mat-Su school libraries. In fact, the book, Let’s Talk About It, is not listed in any school library catalog anywhere in Alaska. But even though it is not available in Alaskan school libraries, it’s a favorite whipping boy for the folks who wish to constrain the first amendment rights of other people’s children.

    Here is the court filing. Read it for yourself and see if SD’s claims that the plaintiffs are “advocating for no limits to pornographic material for children” is valid. ‘https://www.acluak.org/sites/default/files/field_documents/dawn_adams_v._mat-su_school_district_-_federal_complaint.pdf

    • For anyone wanting to see the state’s press release and the Attorney General’s letters about parental notification, porn to minors, etc.:
      ‘https://law.alaska.gov/press/releases/2023/111723-ParentalNotification.html

    • Think harder, SA. By the ACLU standards, Playboy could be in school libraries. It doesn’t matter what the illustration is. It could be the cover of “50 Shades of Gray.” The argument you are making is there must be no standards for school libraries. When you are not teaching perversion, you are trolling.

      • Bullwinkle: The lawsuit does not request that the Mat-Su school district allow Playboy or 50 Shades of Gray in school libraries as you falsely claim. Read the lawsuit. It simply claims that the Mat-Su school district violated students’ rights to read the 56 books that were removed from the school libraries because the district disliked the ideas presented in the books. The plaintiffs made no further claims about Playboy etc.

  4. Why stop there? Why not demand books on incest, beastiality, necrophilia, and the joys of human sacrifice be included?

    Seems there is no depths the progressives won’t descend into.

    10 years ago this would have been national news and probably accompanied with at least pro forma arrests. Today? Who cares?

    I’ll be interested to see how the case is made. Courts have long held a version of children’s rights don’t kick into full effect until a child becomes an adult or is otherwise emancipated. Mom and dad -remember them- are the guardians of said rights.

  5. Unbelievable! I applaud the Mat-Su Borough for putting these books under review. It’s so wrong that the ACLU would even consider suing the district, it’s call common sense you stupid idiots!

  6. Sue them. Its porn. Defund the schools, parents make the teachers miserable through accountability. Call, write, file official complaints. Make them leave our community. Its that bad. Playing nice when they are grooming your kids……Disgusting. or do nothing as usual and watch the decline.

    • Akdale–which of the 56 books that were removed from circulation constitute “porn” in the legal sense? I’ll help you out here: none of them met the legal definition of “porn.” If you can provide evidence to the contrary, I would be very interested to see it.

  7. Well it’s obvious that these people want power and teaching sex to kids is more important than math, English, history and other core knowledge so they can be successful in life. This is so important that they will spend large sums of money to put sex into the schools. Just think they are su post to be adults not bully’s pushing their agenda on people who don’t want it.

  8. This will be a lot of fun. If I were the defense, I would start reading excerpts from the books in question. Nothing like gay porn being read in court, in front of a judge and jury, during a trial. Ridicule will work very well against the ACLU & Northern Justice Project. Cheers –

  9. My first question is what standing do they have to sue?

    The “parent of a bi racial child” has to show how said child is harmed by have age restrictions or requirements for parental permission.

    Alaska has plenty of bi racial children. The overwhelming number of them have two arms, legs, live in a cold environment, etc. None of which are affected by the children’s racial mix.

    Funny. I’m left handed. I never once felt unseen by the lack of porn instruction in school libraries. Or the lack of books focusing on the trials and travails of being left handed.

    This is a classic case of “solutions” looking for problems.

    This is rank politics, nothing less.

  10. I would love to hear how they believe that not having a particular book in a school library is harmful to students of any race, creed, orientation, or other so-called protected class. Do their parents not have access to Amazon, or public libraries, or Barnes and Noble? Is it the school’s job to provide all books ever written to every child free of charge? Hard to defend that point of view, I would think.

  11. Time to bring back the term, “valley trash “. Like Anchorage, seems like they forgot to vote. Complacency on our part spells opportunity to the communists. After all, people who don’t work for a living have nothing but time on their hands.

  12. Northern Justice Project is the same lawfirm that is suing Eastman, Reinbold and Mccabe – and who also sued Micchice. One of their lawyers is a Fairbanks assembly person. They want to make a name for themselves and are doing it pro-bono for all of the plantiffs. Lawfare!

  13. What lawsuit will follow from ACLU and NJP when parents ban their children from attending Public Youth Indoctrination institutions? (public schools).

    Who in their right mind would want to actually pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to send their children off to ivy league university transitional centers so they can join the protests against Israel defending themselves from sick minded terrorist attacks on their citizens? No one I know or associate with but there are still supporters of such indoctrination centers.

  14. Humans imprint. Immature people should not have their time of innocence being ruined by having false impressions interjected by filth industries. If people grow up in a puritan culture otherwise known as the the USA they will be ripe for perpetual imprisonment acting on these legally false impressions favored by socially elevating deviants who evidentially get their kicks leading naive and Innocents astray during their temporary time in the dissipating mists of local “government”.

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