National anti-censorship group weighs in on book battle in Chesterfield County

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CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — In a letter sent to Chesterfield’s School superintendent this month, the National Coalition Against Censorship asked the school system to do away with plans to review several books from a summer reading list some parents voiced concerns over, alleging they are not age appropriate and are objectionable.

“Parents have complete control. This was an optional book list.  The right response at this point is if parents don’t want their kids reading things, then they tell their kids not to read it,” said Claire Guthrie-Gastanaga with the ACLU of Virginia.

The ACLU is part of the coalition and says beyond limiting diversity in education, there are legal troubles with taking books off reading lists.

“There are some pretty serious first amendment questions that can be raised by some other parents in the system and by some students in the system,” said Guthrie-Gastanaga.

“The rhetoric and the opposition to parents simply having information is frankly offensive. Parents are not the enemy in education,” said Victoria Cobb with The Family Foundation.

Cobb supports labeling and rating the material.

“If Chesterfield feels that these are appropriate books, they need to provide parents some assurances that they are also age appropriate,” said Cobb.

Cobb says parents should have more say in deciding what should and shouldn’t be on their child’s reading lists.

“Parents do have the fundamental right to direct the decisions regarding their child’s education,” said Cobb.

We also reached out to Chesterfield County Public Schools to see if they had any response to the letter. We have yet to hear back.

A link to the letter can be found here.Find 8News on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram; send your news tips to

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