School districts in at least 32 states have imposed more than 2,500 different book bans over the last school year, The Guardian reports.
School districts in 32 states have banned at least 1,648 individual books, most of which are related to race or LGBTQ issues, according to an analysis by the nonprofit Pen America.
The bans affect more than 5,000 schools nationwide.
A third of the books include authors with LGBTQ identities.
About 40% of the books banned included prominent characters of color.
The has been a “proliferation of organized efforts to advocate for book removals,” the report warned.
The report warned of a “rapid acceleration” in coordinated book bans.
“This rapidly accelerating movement has resulted in more and more students losing access to literature that equips them to meet the challenges and complexities of democratic citizenship,” Jonathan Friedman, the lead author of the report, told The Guardian.
“The work of groups organizing and advocating to ban books in schools is especially harmful to students from historically marginalized backgrounds, who are forced to experience stories that validate their lives vanishing from classrooms and library shelves,” he said.
“While we think of book bans as the work of individual concerned citizens, our report demonstrates that today’s wave of bans represents a coordinated campaign to banish books being waged by sophisticated, ideological and well-resourced advocacy organizations,” said Suzanne Nossel, the CEO of Pen America.
“This censorious movement is turning our public schools into political battlegrounds, driving wedges within communities, forcing teachers and librarians from their jobs, and casting a chill over the spirit of open inquiry and intellectual freedom that underpin a flourishing democracy.”