Book Bans in Forsyth County GA Book Bans in Forsyth County GA Schools and Civil Rights Violation Are Civil Rights Violation
The Office for Civil Rights at the US Department of Education recently released a letter and resolution agreement detailing the outcome of an investigation into civil rights violations at Forsyth County (GA) School District concerning book bans and the hostile climate around the removals.
EveryLibrary commends the US Department of Education Office of Civil Rights for initiating an investigation into this matter. The investigation focuses on violations of Title IX and Title VI related to book bans and censorship, particularly their impact on minority students in the district. It was revealed that the district had implemented a policy to remove books with LGBTQ and BiPOC themes, characters, and stories during the first half of 2022. The investigation concluded that these book removals, coupled with a hostile rhetorical climate created by district leadership, violated students' civil rights.
Title IX prohibits discrimination based on sex or gender, while Title VI prohibits discrimination based on race, color, or national origin. The Forsyth County School District has been at the center of a contentious book banning fight for almost 18 months. The removal of books with LGBTQ and BiPOC themes, combined with a hostile educational environment, led to the violation of students' civil rights.
The Office for Civil Rights found that the district's media center book screening process failed to alleviate the racially and sexually hostile environment created. A resolution agreement was issued, outlining steps for the district to follow in the next academic year to reestablish a culture of respect for all students and prevent future categorical book bans.
EveryLibrary has been a proud supporter of the Forsyth County Education Coalition (FC4ED), which advocated against book bans and stood up for students' rights. The coalition engaged with the school board, organized actions, and spoke to the media about their concerns. The Office for Civil Rights' investigation played a significant role in influencing the district's behavior and complemented the ongoing efforts of the coalition.
- Read the investigation Letter from OCR to the Forsyth County School District
- Read the Resolution Agreement between the OCR and the Forsyth County School District
- Read the OCR Press Release Announcing Resolution of the Investigation
Book bans and censorship in schools disproportionately impact minority students and create a hostile educational environment. The investigation into the Forsyth County School District is significant because it highlights the violation of civil rights and the need for compliance with anti-discrimination laws. It also serves as a deterrent against future book bans.
The broader context reveals that book bans predominantly target stories by and about people of color and LGBTQ+ individuals. Statistics indicate that a significant percentage of banned books address race, racism, and LGBTQ+ themes. The investigation into Forsyth County School District sheds light on the larger issue of book bans and censorship in the United States.
The US Department of Education's investigation into the Forsyth County School District's book bans and censorship practices underscores the violation of civil rights and the creation of a hostile environment for minority students. The investigation represents a significant step toward justice for affected students and serves as a deterrent against future book bans. EveryLibrary stands in support of the Office for Civil Rights' efforts to enforce anti-discrimination policies and protect students' rights in schools nationwide.
News stories about the investigation:
- AP News: Georgia school’s book bans may break civil rights law, federal officials warn
- The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Forsyth may have created ‘hostile environment’ with book ban review
- The New York Times: Book Removals May Have Violated Students’ Rights, Education Department Says
- The Washington Post: Book removals may have violated student civil rights, Education Dept. says
- 11 Alive: Department of Education Responds to Forsyth County Book Ban
- Forsyth County News: Book removals in Forsyth County Schools may have violated students’ civil rights, according to Federal government report
- NPR: A Georgia school district's book bans may have caused a hostile environment, feds say
- Georgia Public Broadcasting: Civil rights investigation into Forsyth County Schools wraps up
- Vice / Mother Board: Book Bans are Discriminatory and Bad Says US DOE
If you are in a school district or public library where book bans and censorship are weaponized against students, residents, or the library staff, please contact EveryLibrary for a confidential conversation about how we can help you fight back and win.
EveryLibrary provides free digital organizing resources like Fight for the First and supports long-term campaigns like the Forsyth County Education Coalition and other Library Alliances. Our assistance includes coaching and guidance for local organizers, help with digital and real-world actions, media relations, fundraising, and coalition building. Our donors enable us to put advertising dollars behind every campaign call-to-action to ensure it breaks through the noise.