Oklahoma Supreme Court rules against State Supt. Ryan Walters in book ban dispute

In a decision on Tuesday, the Oklahoma Supreme Court unanimously ruled in favor of Edmond Public Schools, concluding a contentious battle over the presence of two novels in the district’s school libraries. The ruling asserted that Superintendent of Public Instruction Ryan Walters and the state Department of Education had exceeded their authority in attempting to compel the district to ban the books.

The court’s decision emphasized that local school boards retain the discretion to determine which books are suitable for their libraries, guided by their community’s standards.

“Local school boards are best positioned to make decisions that reflect the values and needs of their communities,” the justices wrote in their opinion.

The two novels at the center of the dispute are Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner and Jeannette Walls’s The Glass Castle. Both books have received critical acclaim and numerous literary awards. The Kite Runner, a poignant tale set in war-torn Afghanistan, has faced challenges due to its depictions of rape and child sexual abuse. The Glass Castle, a memoir depicting a family’s struggle with poverty, includes profanity and accounts of alcoholism and sexual situations.

Edmond Public Schools maintained that these books are only available to high school students.


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