FARMINGTON — The suit over placement of a controversial book in school libraries has been settled, but at a cost of $15,000 to Davis School District.
The settlement, signed by district representatives on Jan. 30, acknowledges that “In Our Mothers’ House” has been returned to general circulation and is available for checkout (see Clipper, Jan. 17).
It also states: “Plaintiffs acknowledge that the book may be restricted on a per-student basis by the parent or guardian of an individual student if the parent or guardian believes that the book may be contrary to the student’s, or the parent’s, belief or right of conscience, in the same manner as any other library book.”
The settlement is not an admission of liability, “but rather the compromise of disputed claims,” it said.
The $15,000 will go to the ACLU Foundation of Utah, Inc., for payment of the plaintiffs’ attorneys’ fees.
“That was just one thing we had to do to settle the suit,” said Chris Williams, community relations director for the district. “We agreed that we would pay and they agreed that neither party would admit any fault and that we could go forward.”
The book in question tells the story of a family with two mothers and the prejudice they feel from some in the community.
“We haven’t taken parents out of the drivers’ seat,” said Williams. “They can still determine whether they want their children to have access to certain books or not, and if this book, or ‘Goosebumps,’ or another book causes them concern, all they need to do is contact the school librarian.”
If parents make the request to limit access, the names of the students and the books go into a database so books can’t be checked out, he said.
“I am happy that all parents will now have the chance to make their own decisions about their own children,” said Tina Weber, the mother who filed the challenge on behalf of her children, as quoted in an ACLU release.
In a letter sent to the parents who had originally opposed the book, Pamela Park, assistant superintendent, wrote: “The District recognizes a parent’s right to direct the upbringing of his/her own children.”
After outlining the ability of the computerized library system to maintain individual parent requests, the letter said, “With this system, parents may ensure that their child does not check out material which a parent has determined is not appropriate for their own child.”