Cobb County Schools faces civil rights complaint over books removed from libraries

COBB COUNTY, Ga. — An organization has filed a civil rights complaint against Cobb County Schools over its decision to remove certain books from school libraries.

The National Women’s Law Center sent its complaint to the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights on Monday.

In the complaint, the center says that Cobb County Schools created “a hostile environment for students through practices that include censoring books and learning materials that feature, tell the stories of, or are written by LGBTQIA+ people and people of color.”

Channel 2 Action News reached out to the district for a response.

“Local political candidates repeating a made-up narrative doesn’t make it true and protecting access to sexually explicit content for minors doesn’t make it right,” a district spokesperson said.

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The battle over books in Cobb County Schools started last year. Since Aug. 2023, Cobb County Schools has removed the following books for “inappropriate content”

  • “Me, Earl, and the Dying Girl” by Jesse Andrews
  • “Flamer” by Mike Curato
  • “Blankets” by Craig Thompson
  • “It Ends with Us” by Collen Hoover
  • “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” by Stephen Chbosky
  • “Lucky” by Alice Sebold
  • “Thirteen Reasons Why” by Jay Asher.

Cobb County Superintendent Chris Ragsdale previously said at an April meeting that he doesn’t see the process as book banning.

“As long as I am the superintendent of the Cobb County School District, I will work tirelessly to ensure your children are not given unrestricted access to materials containing lewd, vulgar, and sexually explicit content, nor will your taxes be used to fund it,” Ragsdale said.


But the NWLC and other organizations on the complaint claim the district has violated Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

“Across our races and backgrounds, Georgians want our young people to have the freedom to learn, to be themselves, and to grow up safe. Censorship of books sends a message to students of color and LGBTQIA+ students that they do not belong, that they are not safe to be who they are, and that they do not deserve to be reflected in what they read and learn,” said Melody Oliphant, Executive Director of the Georgia Youth Justice Coalition.

“As a result of Cobb County School District targeting books and stories about race, racism, and LGBTQIA+ identity, students feel unwelcome and under attack by their school district,” Oliphant added.

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