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ACLU of Idaho filed public records request to Nampa School District after book ban

On Wednesday, Rediscovered Books handed out more than 1,000 free copies of books recently banned by the Nampa School District.
James Dawson
Boise State Public Radio
On Wednesday, Rediscovered Books handed out more than 1,000 free copies of books recently banned by the Nampa School District.

The ACLU of Idaho is concerned the banning of 22 books from Nampa’s schools in May is unconstitutional.

The organization sent a public records request to the Nampa School District, asking for all communications related to their decision to ban books from the school libraries and classrooms.

Aadika Singh is the legal director of the ACLU of Idaho. The books may have been banned because they contain ideas related to race, gender and sexuality, or because of the author belongs to a racial or sexual minority, she said.

"The U.S. Constitution does not allow for books to be removed from school library shelves because the ideas are somehow offensive or uncomfortable," she said. "We are concerned with the information we have gleaned from what has been publicly available that the trustees for the Nampa School District abused their discretionary power and may have violated the First Amendment of the United States Constitution."

Singh added the ACLU is seeking more information because they are concerned the Board did not follow an unbiased process in removing the books.

"It appears that they relied on one community member’s complaints about the books," she said. "It appears that they rejected the advice of librarians and teachers, and those things raise significant constitutional concerns.

By law, the district has 10 days to review and make the requested records public.

Books currently banned from the schools include titles such as The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood or The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison. Many of the banned books include LGBTQ+ characters.

The book ban made national news and inspired the local shop Rediscovered Books to fundraise to give away free copies of the books to local students.

Kathleen Tuck, a spokesperson for the Nampa School District, said they are aware of the ACLU public records request and will fill that following their normal process.

"Our board is currently working to establish a fair, consistent and transparent procedure for handling challenged books," said Tuck in an email.

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