Plattsmouth Students Protest Book Bans

MURRAY, Neb. — Last week dozens of students walked out of Plattsmouth High School in Plattsmouth, Nebraska over the removal of books from the school library. Roughly 52 books including Looking For Alaska by John Green and The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood are under review. About a dozen were pulled off the shelves.

Students protested the restriction of these books while school officials claimed they contained topics inappropriate for a high school audience though many of the same books are on the shelves at Conestoga Jr/Sr High School.

Terri Cunningham-Swanson, a somewhat new member of the board, has been credited with leading the efforts to remove certain books. Swanson is also known for hosting a screening of the film “Mind Polluters” during her campaign which criticizes public education for “indoctrinating” students.

The Plattsmouth Superintendent says that the school’s attorney was consulted in the decision to review and remove certain books. However, students question whether this action violates their 1st Amendment rights. The Supreme Court has formerly ruled that individuals have a right to access information. There are also questions of viewpoint discrimination based on books that have been removed for LGBTQIA+ or racial topics.

Students are planning to attend the Board of Education meeting on May 8 to voice their opposition and concerns. They have asked that community members come to support them as well.