Nearly six months after a challenge was lodged, a Davis School District review committee has determined the King James version of the Bible may remain in the district’s high school libraries but cannot be circulated in junior high or elementary school libraries.
The decision has been appealed by an individual who wants the Bible retained at all grade levels.
According to a statement by the school district, the review committee determined the religious text does not contain “sensitive materials” as defined in state law. However, the committee decided to retain the book in high school library circulations “based on age appropriateness due to vulgarity or violence.”
According to the district’s statement, the Bible was in “seven to eight elementary/junior high school” libraries.
The challenge to the Bible was made on Dec. 11, 2022, according to the district’s library website and one of the lengthiest challenges undertaken by a review committee, said district spokesman Christopher Williams.
“The district review committee reviewed the book in its entirety and determined that the book does not contain sensitive material as defined in Utah Code 76-10-1227, 76-10-1201 or 76-10-1203. Therefore, according to Utah law, the book has been retained in school library circulation,” the district’s library website states.
HB374, passed by the Utah Legislature in 2022, defines “sensitive material” as instructional materials that are pornographic or indecent, colloquially referred to as the “bright line” rule in state code.
The appeal will be heard by an appeals committee made up of three members of the Davis School District Board of Education but a timeline has not yet been determined, Williams said.
Rep. Ken Ivory, R-West Jordan, sponsor of HB374, said he was “very grateful” that the review committee took the time “to do what appears to be a careful review of the material and that they’ve made determinations of what they believe are age appropriateness for materials that they believe are are sensitive for children. So I couldn’t be more grateful that they’re doing that.”
Ivory said in a compulsory education system, “it really is our obligation to make sure that it’s the safest place on Earth. Hopefully this ruling is a very positive step toward doing that — to err on the side of safe over sexualized, safe over vulgar, safe over violent.”