According to officials from the Biden administration, a number of fresh safeguards for LGBTQ students and families were announced on Thursday. Among these measures are appointments of a coordinator tasked with spearheading efforts to combat the banning of books in schools.
It's worth pointing out that the books being removed from school libraries are pornographic in nature, as highlighted by Libs of TikTok and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
White House domestic policy adviser Neera Tanden stated that the Education Department coordinator, whose name has yet to be disclosed, will provide training to school districts and offer guidance on the potential violation of federal civil laws if they create an unfriendly atmosphere for students by banning books.
In the first half of this school year, there were nearly 1,500 reported incidents of book banning in schools, impacting a total of 874 different titles, as revealed by PEN America's Index of School Book Bans. This represents an approximate 30% rise compared to the previous school year.
PEN reports that over 25% of the books that were banned feature LGBTQ characters or themes. The states with the highest number of book bans this year are Texas, Florida, Missouri, Utah, and South Carolina.
"Book banning erodes our democracy, removes vital resources for student learning and can contribute to the stigma and isolation that many communities face," Tanden stated.
In the move, which has stirred controversy, administration officials unveiled a collaborative initiative between the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Justice Department. The initiative aims to provide training to LGBTQ centers in order to confront a range of potential violence threats, such as shooting and bomb threats, as well as cyberattacks.
Last month, DHS emphasized the "heightened threat environment" in the United States, specifically highlighting LGBTQ individuals and events as prime targets for potential violence.
On Thursday evening, as part of a Pride Month event, President Biden will address the matter while surrounded by LGBTQ+ families.