Girls Who Code banned by Central York school district in Pennsylvania [UPDATE]

The Girls Who Code series appears to be a target at one particular school district. (Update: The district has issued a response.)


As American society continues to roll backwards into old-time tactics like banning books, one Pennsylvania school district appears to be drifting even further into the realm of the absurd. The non-profit Pen America has been monitoring the increasing number of books banned across various school districts and has found that four titles from the Girls Who Code series have been banned across all Central York School District classrooms.

A Monday article from The Guardian has brought this issue further to light, though the issue has apparently been unfolding throughout the weekend. This article points to the growing list of banned and censored books across American school districts compiled by Pen America. The Girls Who Code books being on that list is particularly eye-opening to those who have followed that organization, which is dedicated to teaching STEM academics to young girls.

"We use these stories to teach kids to code," Girls Who Code founder Reshma Saujani told Business Insider (via Yahoo! Finance). "It felt very much like a direct attack on the movement we've been building to get girls coding. Especially in districts that don't have the technology or have disparate Wi-Fi, books are a great way to learn to code and a way to equalize access to coding."

Spotlight on Coding Club book cover
Spotlight on Coding Club is among the books that appear to be banned from Central York School District classrooms.
Source: Amazon

The Girls Who Code series' banning is largely being attributed to the ongoing protests of the Moms for Liberty organization. This is a conservative group that is advocating for greater oversight of educational material in schools. However, it should be noted that Monday's article from The Guardian contains a sharp denial that the Girls Who Code books have been banned at all.

"The information published in this article is categorically false," reads a Central York School District statement. "This book series not been banned, and they remain available in our libraries."

Update: The Central York School District has issued a formal statement on Twitter.

There seems to be quite a bit of controversy about this article in our community. While some of the facts are correct, there is some context that need addressing.

Early last school year, a list of 250+ books was made public. While Girls Who Code was on that list, the books were never removed from library shelves. In fact, Girls Who Code has ALWAYS been strongly supported by our district.

However, when you let far-right extremist set the agenda this is the result. Books like this get out on banned book lists. This was the case with our previous school board. But this story has a happy ending.

Once our community got wind of this, students, educators and parents came together and said ENOUGH! We organized. We went to school board meetings. We made our voice heard. The decision to ban the books was overturned! But we weren’t finished.

We knocked on doors. We talked to neighbors. We made calls. In November of 2021, we VOTED OUT the worst far-right elements that plagued our school board. All in a deep red community that voted 60+% for Trump in the 2020 election!

We’ve come a long way here, but the work is far from over. We talk to our board and administrators and remain vigilant for when those extreme elements will once again rear its ugly head. If this community can do it, so can yours. And you’re not alone. We’re here to help!

The censorship of books in school and libraries across the country remains a major issue and one that will only heighten in the years ahead. If it's starting to bleed into tech books, like the ones provided by Girls Who Code, expect to see more stories about it here at Shacknews. We'll be sure to follow this topic with a vested interest.

Senior Editor

Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

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