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Santa Clarita PTA members attempt to remove books


Organization says it doesn’t censor literature

Some members of the PTA at a Santa Clarita elementary school attempted to remove two books–one with a main character who is gay and the other focused on a pair of young sex assault victims–from a book fair at the school earlier this month, according to parents, but the PTA president insists it's not the organization's policy to censor books.

Parents of children at Mountain View Elementary School in the Saugus Union School District posted on social media they saw members of the PTA hiding the books and asking to have them removed from the book fair, allegedly contending they were not age-appropriate for elementary school children.

The books in question were “The Insiders'' by Mark Oshiro and “Fighting Words'' by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley. “The Insiders'' is about a gay boy who is adjusting to moving to a new town and going to a new school. “Fighting Words'' is about two sisters who are in foster care and who are victims of sexual assault and abuse.

Rachel Villanueva, president of the Santa Clarita Valley PTA Council, said in an email response to a request for comment about the book fair that the organization plans to issue a statement on the matter. But she said, “It is not the policy of the PTA to censor book fairs.''

Villanueva said the SCV PTA addressed the issue when the organization learned about the attempt to remove the books from the fair.

“Once the council and district PTA were alerted to the situation, actions were taken to fix the situation,'' Villanueva said.

No details were immediately provided about what those actions were.

“The Insiders'' is a Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year and an ALA Rainbow Book List Top 10 Title for Young Readers.

“Fighting Words'' is a Newbery Honor Book award winner and has been recognized as a Boston Globe Best Book of the Year, Horn Book Fanfare Best Book of the Year, and School Library Journal Best Book of the Year.