On June 11, the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled that the state Department of Education overstepped its authority by attempting to force the Edmond Public School district to remove two books the state had deemed inappropriate from its school library shelves, holding that new state rules enacted last year to govern book content in the state’s public schools had no basis in law.

“We conclude a local school board possesses statutory authority to maintain and control its local school library, and one aspect of this control includes discretionary selection for providing supplemental educational books and instructional material deemed appropriate by the local school board in compliance with state statutes,” the unanimous decision reads. “No statute gives the State Board of Education, State Department of Education, and Superintendent of Public Instruction the authority to overrule a local school board's exercise of discretion in applying its local community standards for books in a local school library.”

The decision comes after state superintendent Ryan Walters oversaw the creation of new rules governing library content in schools last year, including the inception of “a library media review committee” to assess content. The move drew national headlines after it was disclosed that far-right social media star Chaya Raichik, who runs the controversial account Libs of TikTok, was appointed to the committee.

In January, the state DOE demanded that the Edmond district remove The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini and The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls from its school library, citing sexual content. The state threatened to go after the school’s accreditation status if it refused to comply, despite the state’s attorney general concluding that the DOE lacked authority to enforce the new rules.

In February, the Edmond district asked the state Supreme Court to rule in the dispute. And in its decision this week, the court accused the state of attempting to exercise “unauthorized quasi-judicial authority” over the district, and held that state law explicitly gives local school boards control over its the books in its libraries.

In a statement, school officials praised the court’s decision, and said the ruling wasn’t about the books in question but, more broadly, about who gets to choose them. “Today’s decision protects our locally elected school board’s role in creating policies that determine how library materials are selected and reviewed,” reads a statement issued by the district.

PEN America Freedom to Read program assistant Madison Markham, in her own statement, added: “After being accused by State Superintendent Walters of ‘peddling porn,’ school libraries are once again free to curate according to their own local standards and librarians’ professional expertise. Other states, including South Carolina and Utah, should take heed as they attempt to exert increased state control over local decision making.”