In a troubling display of federal overreach, the Department of Education under President Joe Biden has once again interfered in a local dispute involving parents’ concerns about sexually explicit books in Georgia schools. The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) at the Department of Education penned a letter to Forsyth County Schools Superintendent Jeff Bearden, criticizing the district’s decision to remove inappropriate books from school shelves. Not only did the federal agency demand that the district offer support to students affected by the book removal process, but it also ordered a “climate survey” to assess the need for additional actions.
The OCR justified its involvement by alleging that the district created a hostile environment based on race, color, national origin, sexual orientation, and identity. However, the Supreme Court’s Bostock v. Clayton County decision, which expanded the definition of “sex” in employment cases, does not directly apply to education. Despite this, the Biden administration attempted to use Title IX and Title VI laws as a pretext for its interference in this local education matter.
Conservatives argue that the real issue at hand is the federal government’s bullying tactics and its attempt to indoctrinate children with LGBTQ ideology. Parents and taxpayers have every right to be involved in their children’s education, including voicing concerns about sexually explicit content. The district responded to parental concerns by reviewing the books and removing those with pervasive vulgarity, not based on the ideas or authors’ identities.
While the district and parents worked together to address the issue, the OCR disregarded the role of parents and instead accused them of making negative comments about diversity and inclusion, critical race theory, and LGBTQ authors and characters. Corporate media outlets also played a role in spreading misinformation and outrage, falsely claiming that the district was banning books at the behest of parents. The OCR used media outrage as evidence that parents and the district overstepped their bounds in protecting minors from explicit content.
Despite the legal defeat and the concerns raised by parents, multiple problematic books were eventually approved to return to school shelves after review by a committee. However, the OCR’s investigation and demand for an apology will likely dissuade the district from taking further action against pornographic and inappropriate content in schools.
Forsyth County Schools parents are not discouraged by this setback and continue to advocate for their children’s well-being. They urge all parents to wake up to the encroachment of federal power and the need to protect children from harmful and age-inappropriate materials in schools. The battle for parental rights and the education of their children is far from over.