ACLU Supports Bill to Block Book Bans

The American Civil Liberties Union thanks Rep. Maxwell Frost for introducing H.R. 6592, the Fight Book Bans Act. This legislation would fight censorship by enabling the Department of Education to provide grants to school districts to cover expenses incurred when they fight off book bans. In a letter sent to the House of Representatives, the ACLU is urging House members to co-sponsor the bill.

Over the past year, more than 3,000 books have been banned in schools across America. These books disproportionately feature stories about LGBTQ+ communities, people of color, and others who have been marginalized. Book bans to this effect are not only discriminatory – they are a violation of students’ First Amendment right to access information.

“The First Amendment protects the ability to access almost all information. School libraries enable students to exercise this right, as they can contain information on topics ranging from science, to art, to travel, as well as different viewpoints,” said Jenna Leventoff, ACLU senior policy counsel. “We strongly urge the House to co-sponsor the Fight Book Bans Act. Doing so will send a message that we won’t sit still and allow censorship to thrive.”

The ability to discuss and debate ideas, even those that some may find uncomfortable, is a crucial part of our democracy, and barring discussion of our history or lived experiences is anathema to free speech. The ACLU has challenged classroom censorship laws in Florida, New Hampshire and Oklahoma to protect educators’ and students’ rights to teach and learn. Today, the organisation urges lawmakers to continue that fight and actively protect our right to learn by supporting the Fight Book Bans Act.

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