California Democrats passed a bill on Thursday opposed by conservative school board members in the state that would discipline school districts that remove certain books for “discriminatory reasons.”
Assemblymember Corey Jackson introduced Assembly Bill 1078 responding to conservative school boards’ restriction of books within public schools and school libraries. The bill would fine school boards if “topics related to race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, or other protected characteristics” are excluded.
“We’re taking a firm stand against book banning in California’s schools, ensuring that our students have access to a broad range of educational materials that accurately represent the rich cultural and racial diversity of our society,” Jackson said in a press release.
The California School Boards Association (CSBA) opposed the legislation even after the bill was amended to remove portions that were opposed by the association. CSBA said the bill would allow “unfettered state intervention before a school district is made aware of a complaint and has an adequate opportunity to review and remediate the issue,” Politico reported.
More than 1,200 books were attempted to be banned from schools and libraries in 2022, many of which were by and/or about black or LGBTQ people. Many of the most challenged books were opposed due to their sexually explicit content, according to documents from the American Library Association.
In Maine, a book called “Gender Queer,” which has an age advisory claiming the book is for readers 18 years and has been criticized for the sexually explicit depictions of two minors, was read aloud by an 11-year-old student to highlight the graphic nature of the book the New York Post reported.
The California bill heads to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s desk and Newsom is expected to sign the legislation, according to Sierra Sun Times“California is the true freedom state: a place where families — not political fanatics — have the freedom to decide what’s right for them,” Newsom said in a statement after the bill passed in both chambers. “All students deserve the freedom to read and learn about the truth, the world, and themselves.”
CSBA did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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