Across the country, there have been organized political attacks on books in schools. These ongoing attempts to purge schools of books represent a partisan threat not only to our children’s education, but to our democracy overall. That’s why Defending Rights & Dissent joined with the National Coalitions Against Censorship along with a plethora of organizations and individuals across the country who are deeply concerned about this sudden rise in censorship to call on an end to these political attacks on books in schools. You can read the full statement here.
While every community has guidelines for how certain topics and literature are taught and approached in schools, the Supreme Court also has made clear that there’s a Constitutional difference between caution and censorship. The law clearly prohibits the attacks were seeing across the country today: censoring school libraries and removing books based on ideology, without any review of their educational or literary merit. Some communities have been even more extreme, going so far as to threaten teachers & school librarians with criminal charges for allowing students access to books.
The First Amendment protects against our government – federal, state, and local – dictating what public school students are allowed and are not allowed to read based on their own personal beliefs or political viewpoint. It is freedom of expression that ensures that we can meet the challenges of a changing world and that right cannot be infringed at any level, whether in schools or outside of them. We must fight to defend it.
Defending Rights & Dissent is guided by the Bill of Rights, which was adopted to limit the power of the state over individuals and to preserve basic human and individual rights for every person under U.S. jurisdiction or control, even in times of war or other national crises, and regardless of who holds elected power.
In 2015, the Bill of Rights Defense Committee and the Defending Dissent Foundation agreed to merge to place both organizations and their respective supporters in an even stronger position to help restore constitutional rights eroded by executive agencies.