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Collierville Schools faces backlash after LGBTQ+ books removed from shelves and reviewed

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Collierville, Tennessee – Collierville Schools has responded to backlash after a commercial appeal reported that more than 300 books on LGBTQ+ topics had been pulled off library shelves and reviewed.

The books are back in the school library, but some students feel betrayed.

Sarina Shamsuddin, a senior at Collierville High School, co-founded the Tennessee Youth Federation to fight legislation she said was a “book ban” bill.

“We are a group of students who firmly believe that students should have a say when these decisions affect them,” said Shamsuddin. “I am a non-LGBTQ student. I am not queer, but students who are queer are not represented.

Shamsuddin appeared before Congress to protest Senate Bill 1944 and House Bill 0800, which ban what is considered “obscene” on school grounds.

She was furious to learn that nearly 300,000 books with LGBTQ+ topics and titles had been removed from the Collierville school library and reviewed before the bill was passed.

The bill was not signed, so the book was put back on the shelf.

Collierville Schools released the following statement regarding the situation:

April 6thour librarians believe that all books potentially affected by SB1944 and HB0800 are no longer being reviewed as bills for both have been sent to summer studies and can be put back on the shelves. We were informed that these books were not removed from official circulation through the library’s Destiny system, but were pulled from the shelves to begin the review process should the bill be signed into state law. be careful.

Student books are labeled with checkout software. Books containing material intended for “mature readers” or designated “young adult literature”, due to their content, are not available in elementary school libraries, but are available in middle school libraries with parental permission. There are no high school level books that require parental permission to borrow. We are developing procedures to comply with: 2022 Age-Appropriate Materials Act (Public Chapter No. 744). This may require parental approval for certain materials. Further guidance from the State Board of Education, TDOE, and the newly expanded Textbooks and Resources Board is expected by December of this year.

The school system also added that the book has never been removed from official circulation through the library’s Destiny system.

However, Shamsuddin believes that the students have lost faith in the school board and blames them for the lack of candid dialogue.

“You cannot change the system without having difficult conversations and without looking at our history and acknowledging all the oppression that has happened, which is exactly what they are avoiding,” Shamsuddin said. rice field.

A list of the books reviewed was not available, but according to commercial appeals, librarians found 300 books with sensitive content.