The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights is appointing a new coordinator to take on book bans in classrooms and libraries across the country, the White House announced Thursday.
“Book banning erodes our democracy, removes vital resources for student learning, and can contribute to the stigma and isolation that LGBTQI+ people and other communities face,” the White House said in a fact sheet released to mark Pride Month.
The coordinator is to develop new training for schools nationwide regarding how book bans targeting specific communities and driving “hostile school environments” may violate federal civil rights laws.
The Education Department created the position as books are increasingly being pulled from school and library shelves because of district response to growing state legislation and parent-led groups.
The move also marks a growing wave of pushback against these efforts in other quarters. For instance, Illinois is poised to become the first state to bar book bans, while major publisher Penguin Random House joined a book ban lawsuit in May against a Florida school district.