Education advocates rally after Lt. Governor calls for banning certain books

Education advocates and activists delivered a box of frequently-challenged books to republican leaders who they believe are stirring up book banning controversy to gain votes.

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Laura Leslie
, WRAL capitol bureau chief

The political battle over book banning in North Carolina is getting hotter as election time grows closer.

On Monday, educators, activists and critics of book banning gathered for a rally outside Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson's mansion with a message: School libraries shouldn't be political targets.

Robinson has been the highest profile state leader calling for some books to be removed from school libraries.

Education advocates and activists delivered a box of frequently-challenged books to Robinson and other Republican leaders.

Many of the "frequently-challenged" books are about race, according to Durrell Johnson with Progress NC.

"We're hoping they'll read them, learn something," he said. "Might be a quiz afterwards."

He’s also accused teachers of indoctrinating students on racial equity, including last week at CPAC.

"Pornography is in our libraries. We’re in classrooms teaching children about adult issues like transgenderism. And we're setting Black children on one side of the room and white children on the other side and teaching them to despise each other," said Robinson.

Education advocates, however, say that's not true. Instead, they believe the book banning issue is part of a coordinated effort to stir up Republican voters.

"This is an orchestrated culture war started by think tanks out of DC who are using this as a tactic to scare suburban moms and particularly white suburban moms into showing up at the polls and voting for right wing candidates up and down the ballot," said Janice Robinson, with the anti book-banning group Red Wine and Blue.

She says conservative activists are showing up at school boards around the country, protesting the same books and sometimes using the same script. She said most of the challenged books are about Black, brown or LGBTQIA+ people.

"Any parent who does not want their kid to read a certain book can opt out their kid. They don’t need to take that opportunity away from everybody else’s kid," she said.

WRAL News asked the lieutenant governor for his reaction, but he has not responded.

On Monday, Wake County Commissioners met to hear about a new process for complaints about books in the county library system. When someone complained about the book Gender Queer last year, library administrators decided to remove it from shelves without public debate. It was returned to shelves after a protest.

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