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PEN America Reports Another Record High in Book Bans

Book bans hit another record high (Credits: The Hill)

Book bans in U.S. schools have reached a new peak, according to a report from free speech advocacy group PEN America. The report found over 4,000 instances of book bans in the first half of the current school year, surpassing the total number of bans in the entire previous academic year.

The sharp increase in book bans is concerning for advocates of free expression and American values. Bans were documented in 23 states and 52 school districts, targeting books that cover topics such as rape, sexual violence, racism, and LGBTQ individuals.

Book bans in schools reach record high (Credits: Scripps News)

Sabrina Baêta, the Freedom to Read program manager at PEN America, emphasized the detrimental impact of these bans on the education of millions of students across the country. She described the bans as broad, harsh, and pernicious, indicating a troubling trend that shows no signs of slowing down.

Florida reported the highest number of book bans, with over 3,000 instances, while Kentucky and Virginia experienced the fewest.

Huge increase in book bans nationwide (Credits: Common Dreams)

Despite these challenges, PEN America highlighted the efforts of students and teachers to protest book bans and find alternative ways for students to access banned titles, such as through banned-book clubs.

PEN America defines a school book ban as any action taken by the community or administrators that results in a book being completely removed or restricted from availability when it was previously accessible.

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