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Conservative groups calling hundreds of books 'obscene,' asking Colorado school staff be criminally charged

Petition sent to DA's office, one school district taking action
Posted at 11:27 AM, Dec 01, 2023
and last updated 2023-12-01 13:53:33-05

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — About 20 conservative groups in El Paso and Teller Counties are calling hundreds of books in area public schools, 'obscene materials.' So much so, they believe staff and administrators allowing minors to access these books should be criminally charged.

A petition accuses some Colorado public schools of violating federal and state obscenity laws by making these books available. These groups have asked the 4th Judicial District Attorney Michael Allen to hold school leaders accountable and ban the books.

The petition was signed by one group called Moms for Liberty. The El Paso County's chapter chair said she is concerned for her two kids in D38.

"If my daughter or my son got a hold of one of these books, the images are so graphic and when material so graphic . . . I almost believe it would be a traumatic event," Darcy Schoening said.

The El Paso County Democratic Party vice chair has a kid in Academy District 20. He said he trusts the books in schools are appropriate for kids.

"That type of material has no business in being banned, it's a very dangerous precedent to be setting to be controlling what people read and think at that level, it's a threat to democracy, it's absurd," Rob Rogers said.

The petition calls for the DA to investigate and potentially arrest district superintendents, board members and principals if the books aren't removed.

Former DA, Dan May, said it would be a waste of time for the DA's office to get involved in this.

"I started prosecution in 1982, I've never heard of a district attorney in the state of Colorado getting involved in what books are appropriate in our schools," May said.

Mainly because he said state obscenity laws are enforced by community standards.

"It makes it very difficult for the DA to use that law when they think something is obscene and that's why typically is thrown out on First Amendment grounds," May said.

Materials like books need to be considered as a whole to be obscene, according to May.

"All these so-called parental rights organizations all they've been able to do is cherry-pick specific passages from books that they happen to find offensive," Rogers said.

"We just want age-appropriate books in our schools and for parents to have some authority and say in what their kids see," Schoening said.

D20 set up a meeting with the DA to discuss library book policies and laws sometime next week. Schoening said the DA is setting up a meeting with Moms for Liberty too.

20 local conservative groups call hundreds of books "obscene"