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ACLU wants meeting with Davis School District to discuss same-gender book

Published: Tuesday, June 12 2012 6:42 p.m. MDT

A forum named, A Community Stands up Northern Utah Addresses LGBT Bullying and Suicide. The panel raised concerns over removal of the book, "In Our Mothers' House," and it's the story of two homosexual women raising children in a "non- traditional household", in a Davis County Elementary School which placed the book "behind the counter," Monday, June 11, 2012, in Ogden, Utah.

Tom Smart, Deseret News

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FARMINGTON — The American Civil Liberties Union of Utah on Tuesday requested a meeting with Davis School District superintendent Bryan Bowles to discuss the district's decision to remove a book about a same-gender family from school library shelves.

In a letter addressed to Bowles, ACLU of Utah legal director John Mejia said the organization has concerns about the constitutionality of the district's decision. Five Davis District elementary schools were directed to store their copy of "In Our Mothers' House" by Patricia Polacco behind the library counter after the parent of a kindergartner who checked out the book objected to its content.

The book remains available to students, but a parental permission slip must be shown in order to check out the book. The book is written for young readers and tells the story of two women and their children.

In his letter, Mejia requests a meeting with Boyles so that the ACLU and Davis School District can work together on a solution that respects the First Amendment rights of students.

"Our understanding is that 'Our Mothers' House' (sic) contains a positive depiction of a family headed by a same sex couple," Mejia wrote in the letter. "We respectfully request that you meet with us so that we can understand all of the relevant facts and circumstances."

The letter comes one day after the OUTreach Resource Center hosted a community panel in Ogden in which same-sex couples discussed the removal of the book from library shelves.

On Monday, Davis district spokesman Christopher Williams said the decision to remove the book was made in accordance with district policy. He said a local school committee reviewed the book's content and determined that it should be kept behind the counter. District officials have also referenced a provision in Utah state law, which makes it illegal for a public school curriculum to advocate a gay lifestyle.

E-mail: benwood@desnews.com

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