On Tuesday, PEN America announced that it had organized an unprecedented legal challenge to censorship in Florida classroom libraries along with a coalition of plaintiffs including Penguin Random House, a group of authors, and a group of local parents.
The suit alleges that administrators and school board members in Florida’s Escambia County School District are violating the First Amendment as well as the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment by removing books from classroom libraries.
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According to the plaintiffs, books by non-white and/or LGBTQ+ authors are being singled out are disproportionately. The suit seeks to have the district’s actions declared unconstitutional and to have the banned books returned to library shelves, reports Andrew Albanese, Publishers Weekly senior writer.
“What makes this suit so important is that includes a major publisher,” Albanese tells CCC’s Chris Kenneally.
“Kudos to Penguin Random House for supporting this lawsuit and getting into the game. Let’s hope PRH’s move to join PEN America in this suit is a sign that publishers are ready to really amp up their efforts against book bans, because that, I believe, could be decisive.”