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PA Students Protest After School Bans Books by Black & Hispanic Authors

For the past few weeks, students of the Central York High School in Pennsylvania have gathered outside each morning to protest a district ban on the use of anti-racism-related resources in the classroom. Speakers such as the president of York NAACP and the commissioner for the City of York Human Relations Commission were also present at the protest. 

Some teachers expressed that they were afraid to teach, and students of color felt unsafe and unsupported in the district. Last week, the Central York School Board acquiesced and unanimously voted to rescind the ban.

In August 2020, the Central York School Board forbade its teachers from using a list of videos, books, documentaries, and articles that addressed issues of racial equality after some teachers had begun teaching about “white privilege” and “anti-racism” after the Black Lives Matter protests last summer. Most of the books that were banned by the school board are written by black and Hispanic authors.

“It hurts me to see my peers learning inaccurate things, or not enough things, or a half-right and half-wrong view of history,” said Edha Gupta, a senior at the school. She helped organize the Panther Anti-Racist Student Union’s protests against the ban. Parents and alumni in the district also rallied against the ban and called for the school board’s resignation.The school board came out and said that the ban was a misunderstanding, that the prohibited materials weren’t removed from school libraries. Board president Jane Johnson said in a statement that the school board had originally planned to review the list of prohibited materials “expeditiously” but failed. Johnson also said in a previous statement that the reason for the ban is because the school board did not want its students indoctrinated by “any political or social agenda.”

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