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High school students in Hermon, Maine, now need their parents' permission to read some books

Banned books are visible at the Central Library, a branch of the Brooklyn Public Library system, in New York City on Thursday, July 7, 2022.
Ted Shaffrey
/
AP
Banned books are visible at the Central Library, a branch of the Brooklyn Public Library system, in New York City on Thursday, July 7, 2022.

High school students in Hermon will need to get parental permission to check out certain books with adult themes, under new protocols that administrators are planning to launch this fall.

Hermon High School principal Brian Walsh discussed the new plan at a school committee meeting earlier this week. According to Walsh, parents will need to sign a form at the start of the school year giving their child access to all school library books, none of them, or only those without "adult" or "mature" themes. The school will use the platforms Common Sense Media and NoveList Plus to determine what books will be restricted and kept in a separate part of the library.

Carol Garvan, the legal director with the ACLU of Maine, says that while she hasn't see the school's protocols in detail, she's concerned about growing efforts to restrict access to books at school.

"In general, these efforts at book bans and book suppression have really focused on the stories of black people, and LGBTQ people. And those are the stories getting targeted most often," Garvan says.

The new protocols follow outcry from groups in Maine and across the country over the content of certain books in school libraries.