New book ban czar to monitor escalating content challenges for Dept. of Education

With schools continuing to find themselves caught in emotional debates over students’ access to controversial books, the U.S. Department of Education has hired a new official to oversee its response to content challenges and take action if it finds that removing materials violated students’ civil rights.

Matt Nosanchuk, a former Obama administration official and nonprofit leader whose work has focused on the Jewish and LGBTQ communities, started his job Monday as a deputy assistant secretary in the Office for Civil Rights. In the coming weeks, he’ll lead training sessions for schools and libraries on the shifting legal landscape related to restricting books available to students. The American Library Association will host the first session Sept. 26.

“Across the country, communities are seeing a rise in efforts to ban books — efforts that are often designed to empty libraries and classrooms of literature about LGBTQ people, people of color, people of faith, key historical events and more,” a department official said in an email to reporters Thursday. “These efforts are a threat to student’s rights and freedoms.”

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