PICKENS COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – The Pickens County NAACP has joined local families in a lawsuit challenging the banning of a book from school libraries.
In September 2022, the Pickens County school board unanimously voted to remove ‘Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You(Stamped)’ from school libraries for five years.
‘Stamped’ is a New York Times best seller and has won multiple awards. It traces a history of racism in America through present day, with a stated purpose of building towards a “antiracist America.”
The book was written specifically for young-adult readers, and includes an educator guide, book club guide and other classroom resources.
The removal came after a parent of a Pickens County student asked the book to be reviewed by the board.
Said the district of the decision at the time: “The selection of instructional materials follows SC state board of education regulations as well as other legal requirements. All materials will support the district’s educational philosophy, goals and objectives.”
According to the lawsuit, the board overrode findings of school-and district-level review committees which recommended the book remain available to students.
In response to the removal a group of parents sued the school district on behalf of their children, who attend middle and high schools in the school district.
The lawsuit claims that by banning ‘Stamped,’ the district violated students’ First and Fourteenth Amendment rights.
“But the school library is a place of exploration, not inculcation. The First Amendment guards the school library against orthodoxy and indoctrination, and protects students’ rights to inquire, to study and evaluate, and to gain new ideas and understanding,” the suit reads.
Families and the NAACP are asking courts to return all previously removed copies of ‘Stamped’ to school libraries and prevent the district from prohibiting the book from being used as a classroom resource.
You can read the full complaint here: