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Far-Right Group Wants to Ban Kids From Reading Books on Male Seahorses, Galileo, and MLK

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School books about Martin Luther King Jr. are too “divisive,” claims a conservative group at the center of a Tennessee book ban battle. A story about the astronomer Galileo Galilei is “anti-church.” A picture book about seahorses is too sexy.

As the school year resumes, simmering fights over school books have returned to a boil. In some schools, like in Pennsylvania’s Central York School District this week, students have beaten back bans on books about racism. But elsewhere, like in Tennessee’s Williamson County School District, the battle is ongoing, bolstered by new state laws that ban the teaching of certain race-related topics. At the heart of that fight is a conservative group, led by a private-school parent, that has a sprawling list of complaints against common classroom books. Many of the books are about race, but other targets include dragons, sad little owls, and hurricanes.

Registering its website in late 2020, the group “Moms For Liberty” is one of a series of conservative education groups to spring up in the wake of 2020’s racial justice protests. The group is currently involved in battles against in-school mask mandates, as well as a particularly heated fight over school books in Tennessee’s Williamson County.

In June, the group’s leader, who does not have children in the district, authored a letter to the Tennessee Department of Education, complaining that the district’s curriculum violated a new state law against the teaching of some race-related subjects in public schools. (That law, one of multiple enacted over the past year on state and local levels, faced strong criticism, with opponents warning that it would impede teaching about racism in American history.) The MFL letter specifically took issue with curriculum items about Martin Luther King Jr., Ruby Bridges,........

© The Daily Beast

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