Senators Julian Cyr (D-Truro) and John Francis Moran (D-Suffolk) filed the deceptively named bills, “An Act regarding free expression“ HB4229/SB2528, because they want to allow school librarians to keep vulgar, sexually explicit books on the shelves of public school libraries, where minor students can access them. That’s why we’ve dubbed these bills the Pornographic Schoolbook Bills.
Under the guise of preventing “book banning,” radical legislators want to stop local school committees from protecting children from age-inappropriate content at school.
Wednesday, MFI testified before the Joint Committee on Education against these two bills that would force schools to keep pornographic books on their library shelves. As MFI staff attorney Sam Whiting stated, these bills would remove “almost all meaningful limits on what materials a child can access at school,” strip away authority from local school committees, and even expose schools to lawsuits if they remove sexually explicit books. You can read Sam’s comments here and watch a video of his testimony below. To learn more about these bills read our brief.
Many activist librarians showed up at yesterday’s hearing to testify that these bills are necessary to prevent “small-minded” and “homophobic” parents from “banning books.” We need your help to stand against these dishonest attacks and convince our legislators that local school committees should be able to protect kids from pornographic material in school libraries. Visit our Take Action page to learn how to oppose these bills.
If passed these bills would:
- Prevent a school committee from removing an explicit book from a library unless the book is “devoid of any educational, literary, artistic or social value or is not age appropriate for any children who attend the school.” This means that if a book could conceivably be deemed appropriate for the most mature high school senior, it must be kept in the school library. This subjectively worded standard sets no real limit on what material can be in school libraries; everything would be fair game.
- Force a one-size-fits-all policy created by the State onto all school districts in Massachusetts. This new policy would give almost unlimited discretion to school librarians to decide which books are age-appropriate for students and impose a cumbersome review process if a school committee disagrees with a librarian’s decision.
- Give people a right to sue their school if they disagree with a school’s decision to remove an explicit book. This shocking provision shows just how radical these bills are.
When parents petition school committees to remove pornographic books from a taxpayer-funded public school library, they are not “banning books,” since those same books are widely available elsewhere. These pornographic schoolbook bills are based on a false premise and represent a dangerous attack on local school control, parental rights, and the innocence of children.
Parents, through the elected school committee members who represent them, should have the ultimate say on what content is appropriate for their children. But these bills would tie their hands. Learn more about these radical bills by reading our legislative brief.
This legislation must be stopped! Contact your legislators right away and ask them to oppose these radical bills.
Please, click the button below and take 30 seconds to send your legislators a message to ask them to oppose the Pornographic Schoolbook Bills.
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