LOCAL NEWS

Davis School District retains Bible in all school libraries

Jun 20, 2023, 5:36 PM | Updated: 5:47 pm

The Bible is read aloud at the Utah Capitol, Monday, Nov. 25, 2013. The Bible has been banned at el...

The Bible is read aloud at the Utah Capitol, Monday, Nov. 25, 2013. The Bible has been banned at elementary and middle schools in the Davis School District north of Salt Lake City, after a review committee decided it wasn't age appropriate "due to vulgarity or violence." (Steve Griffin/The Salt Lake Tribune via AP)

(Steve Griffin/The Salt Lake Tribune via AP)

DAVIS COUNTY, Utah — The Bible is back.

The Board of Education of the Davis School District voted unanimously Tuesday to make the The Bible available in school libraries for all age-levels of schools, elementary through high school.

This reversed a previous committee-based decision that restricted the book on school shelves to high schools in the district. A committee tasked with reviewing books that fall under review for sexual content last week determined that the Bible will be retained at district high schools, but removed from all elementary and middle schools.

As part of the review process, that committee finding was reviewed when an appeal was filed.

The district also issued a statement that reads in part:

Some in the community have intimated that the initial committee’s decision, or the district’s policy/process have been intentionally manipulated to undermine Utah’s sensitive materials law (HB 374).  This is wholly untrue.   

The district has always acted with intent to uphold the law and maintain school libraries free from harmful material.  As soon as HB 374 went into effect and guidance from USBE and the Attorney General’s Office was received, the district began revising policy and implementing library media reviews.  To date, the district has conducted reviews for 60 books (37 were removed from all libraries due to bright line rule violations, 14 books were restricted at some school levels due to age appropriateness, and 9 were retained at all levels).

Utah lawmakers took a new look at the new state law after The Bible removed received a lot of attention.

The Education Interim Committee heard from multiple school districts and the Utah State Board of Education to get a feel for how a review of potentially objectionable books is going so far.

A lot of attention was on the Davis School District because of a review that led to the Bible being taken out of their elementary and middle school libraries.

Committees first determine whether a book contains material which violates the bright line rule outlined in Utah Code 76-10-1227.

If the book does not violate the bright line rule, the committee then considers age appropriateness of the book.  Age appropriateness is determined by considering violent or vulgar content as well as whether the book – taken as a whole – has serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value for minors.

There was also concern that the law’s so-called brightline rules — books that aren’t being followed as closely as some lawmakers would like.

These are a set of guidelines set by the law that are intended to clearly define certain types of content that should not be allowed because of the very explicit nature.

There was concern over one book in particular that is still in libraries in the Davis School District.
On top of that, some lawmakers feel the law is being unfairly portrayed as a book-ban.

“And this is what we’re constantly accused of, we’re trying to ban books about people of color, said Rep. Kera Birkeland, a Republican from Morgan. “We’re trying to ban books about LGBTQ people, and that’s false.”

Christopher Williams, Davis School District’s director of communication sent a press release; the full text is contained below the following video.


The Board of Education of the Davis School District voted unanimously this evening to allow The Bible to be included in school libraries at all levels (elementary, junior high, and high school) – reversing a previous committee-based decision which restricted inclusion of The Bible to high school libraries only.

Background & Process 

In December 2022, Davis School District received a request from a community member to review The Holy Bible (King James Version) to determine whether it should continue to be included in school libraries.

Utah Code 53G-10-103 requires school districts to include parents who are reflective of the community when determining if a book contains sensitive material.  Davis District uses a lottery-selected review committee, with a parent majority, to comply with this law.

In accordance with Utah Code, guidance from Utah’s Attorney General (June 1, 2022 Memo), and guidance from the Utah State Board of Education (Model Policy), the District’s Library Media policy requires committees to use a two-step review process.

Committees first determine whether a book contains material which violates the bright line rule outlined in Utah Code 76-10-1227.  If the book does not violate the bright line rule, the committee then considers age appropriateness of the book.  Age appropriateness is determined by considering violent or vulgar content as well as whether the book – taken as a whole – has serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value for minors.  Consideration of a book’s value for minors is dependent upon reliable expert reviews, the committee’s own experience and backgrounds, and the committee’s assessment of community standards (USBE Model Policy & DSD Library Media Policy).

The initial review committee assigned to review The Bible determined that The Bible does not contain material which violates the bright line rule. It then considered age appropriateness of The Bible and determined that The Bible was age appropriate for continued inclusion in high school libraries, but not in junior high or elementary school libraries.

Within days of the announcement of this determination, the district received several appeal requests and immediately began processing appeals.  District policy outlines the appeal process which requires an appeal committee — consisting of three district board members — to reconsider the determinations made by the initial review committee and make a recommendation to the full Board of Education for its consideration.

Appeal Committee Recommendation/Rationale 

The appeal committee reviewed all relevant information pertaining to the original committee’s determination, as well as all information pertaining to appeal requests and public comments.  The appeal committee determined that The Bible does not contain material which violates “bright line rule.” It hen considered age appropriateness of The Bible using the standards outlined in law/policy.  Based on its assessment of community standards, the appeal committee determined that The Bible has significant, serious value for minors which outweighs the violent or vulgar content it contains.  Therefore, the appeal committee considers The Bible to be age appropriate and recommended that it be retained in school libraries at all levels (elementary, junior high, and high school).  The board accepted its recommendation unanimously in a public board meeting on Tuesday June 20, 2023.

Statement of District’s Intent 

Some in the community have intimated that the initial committee’s decision, or the district’s policy/process have been intentionally manipulated to undermine Utah’s sensitive materials law (HB 374).  This is wholly untrue.

The district has always acted with intent to uphold the law and maintain school libraries free from harmful material.  As soon as HB 374 went into effect and guidance from USBE and the Attorney General’s Office was received, the district began revising policy and implementing library media reviews.  To date, the district has conducted reviews for 60 books (37 were removed from all libraries due to bright line rule violations, 14 books were restricted at some school levels due to age appropriateness, and 9 were retained at all levels).

As with any new policy, the district’s library review process will likely require some revisions, but the Davis School District stands by the process currently in place.  The committee-based process is thoughtful, methodical, respectful of varying perspectives, and compliant with Utah law.  It allows for appeals to be considered when a committee’s decision seems to be at odds with community values.  The process takes time and it isn’t perfect, but it is working.

We urge the community – including policymakers – to continue to support a thoughtful committee-based process for library media reviews currently in place.

To see the board’s discussion on the matter, please visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CJwu7VbLHOY

KSL 5 TV Live

Local News

A resident of a homeless shelter in Sandy has been jailed on suspicion of murder in the death of a ...

Tim Vandenack, KSL.com

Sandy homeless shelter resident jailed on suspicion of killing roommate

A resident of a homeless shelter in Sandy has been jailed on suspicion of murder in the death of a roommate at the Medically Vulnerable People Program Facility.

5 hours ago

(Karah Brackin, KSL TV)...

Karah Brackin and Josh Ellis, KSL TV

Multiple people in custody after shots fired at South Salt Lake gathering

South Salt Lake police say shots were fired at a large gathering early Monday morning, and multiple people have been taken into custody.

6 hours ago

emergency lights...

Mark Jones

Man taken into custody for alleged assaults at Cathedral of the Madeleine

A 31-year-old man was arrested Sunday after he allegedly began assaulting random people duing Sunday service at the Cathedral of the Madeleine.

19 hours ago

Taylorsville police said Sunday a 35-year-old man drowned in the swimming pool of an apartment comp...

Mark Jones

Man dies after drowning in swimming pool at Taylorsville apartment complex

Taylorsville police said a 35-year-old male drowned Sunday.

20 hours ago

FILE PHOTO...

Collin Leonard, KSL.com

Layton man charged with killing his father now charged with threatening puppy owner

A Layton man charged this month with brutally killing his father now faces an additional criminal charge after police say he threatened to kill a man selling puppies the day before his father was found dead.

21 hours ago

A paraglider was injured and taken to the hospital after crashing in Washington County on Sunday, M...

Mary Culbertson

Paraglider injured after crashing in Washington County

A paraglider was injured after crashing near Blue Springs Reservoir in Washington County.

1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Electrician repairing ceiling fan with lamps indoors...

Lighting Design

Stay cool this summer with ceiling fans

When used correctly, ceiling fans help circulate cool and warm air. They can also help you save on utilities.

Side view at diverse group of children sitting in row at school classroom and using laptops...

PC Laptops

5 Internet Safety Tips for Kids

Read these tips about internet safety for kids so that your children can use this tool for learning and discovery in positive ways.

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why Printer Security Should Be Top of Mind for Your Business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Davis School District retains Bible in all school libraries