Weld County library allegedly in violation of anti-discrimination laws
The High Plains library district in Weld county is allegedly in violation of anti-discrimination laws.
The allegations come after a librarian lost her job after she claims she was told to cancel several programs she ran for LGBTQ teens and youth of color.
The attorney representing the librarian, Iris Halpern who practices civil law believes this is a significant finding because it is one of the first in the country by a state government.
For Brooky Parks educating her community is her passion.
"I love the idea of being able to do story time and work with young children and teens and just being able to serve my community," she said.
In late 2021, the Weld County Library District changed some policies.
The former librarian says those policies included programs that were intentionally trying to change someone's point of view.
"I was asked to cancel my programs. An anti-racism program for teens as well as an LGBTQ program and told to rename my 'woke' book program because the word 'woke' was polarizing," Parks said.
She expressed her concerns about censorship to staff and the community and says within weeks she lost her job at the Erie library.
"This job is what I am passionate about doing and being told that I cannot do that job and can't serve the members of my community and having to struggle emotionally and financially has just been really difficult," Parks said.
Parks says she struggled for at least a year to find another job and almost lost her house.
The district according to Parks' attorney, Iris Halpern says they are claiming she was fired because due to her being a "poor" employee.
However, the findings of the Colorado Rights Action Division say otherwise.
The division discovered the district was in violation of the anti-discrimination law as evidence indicates that High Plains Library District, "warned and ultimately discharged Parks for pretextual/unsubstantiated reasons and/or for advocating on behalf of the youth of color, LGBTQ+ Youth, and her programs which serve and/or target marginalized youth," according to the organization.
CBS News Colorado reached out to the High Plains Library District and responded saying:
"The district does not comment with regard to ongoing litigation. However, the district denies Ms. Parks' claims. We disagree with the commission's findings and look forward to continuing to provide library services to our patrons across the district."
Data from the American Library Association also shows there's been an increase in the number of attempts to ban or restrict library resources in schools, universities and public libraries.
"Stand up and don't let your libraries take programs and services that matter to you," Parks expresses.
The determination by the civil rights division now allows for the mediation process.
According to Halpern, that could result in the library district meeting the state's requests or continuing on to further legal action.