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Biden decries 'banning books' in schools as conservatives seek age-appropriate limits

President Biden's remarks to the National Education Association annual summit likely refer to sexually graphic fiction shown to prepubescent children.

Published: July 4, 2023 5:45pm

The White House stands with "teachers and educators against politicians who are trying to score political points by banning books," President Biden told the National Education Association (NEA) in a video call to its annual summit in Florida.

While the Washington Examiner reports the president didn't specify books that are targets of supposed bans, he was likely referring to legislative, parental and grassroots efforts to restrict the availability of sexually graphic fiction books for prepubescent children. 

"Fun Home" and "Gender Queer," for example, depict oral sex between college-age students and minors, respectively. They are frequent targets of restrictions, including this spring in Texas, and the American Library Association says the latter was the most challenged book of 2022.

The "banned books" talking point was touted by protesters outside the opposing Moms for Liberty conference in Philadelphia, who handed out such supposed books, the Examiner reports.

NEA President Becky Pringle, who exchanged chummy text messages with then-CDC Director Rochelle Walensky as the agency was devising COVID-19 school reopening guidance that favored teachers unions, called Florida "ground zero for shameful, racist, homophobic, misogynistic, xenophobic rhetoric and dangerous actions" at the conference in the state.

Also at the NEA summit, Biden laid out his demands for GOP lawmakers to pass wide-ranging gun restrictions based in part on Illinois's ban on so-called assault weapons. "Arming teachers is not the answer," he said, referring to competing Republican responses to gun violence in schools.

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