For Immediate Release- February 8, 2023
AFT-NH Statement on Bill on ‘Obscene Materials’
in K-12 and Higher Education Classes, Public Libraries
CONCORD, N.H.—The following is a statement from AFT-New Hampshire President Deb Howes on HB 514, a bill to provide a procedure for people to complain about so-called obscene materials in K-12 and higher education classes and public libraries but that does not even clearly define what would be considered obscene:
“For all intents and purposes, this legislation about the dissemination of obscene materials is a book ban bill. Incredibly, the bill’s sponsors don’t even have the guts to clearly define what would be considered obscene, so it’s really meant to intimidate teachers and deprive students—both school-aged and adults—of books that one person who files a complaint deems objectionable. It practically begs parents or guardians to complain about a particular book to their local school board in the case of public schools, opening the way to a chaotic free-for-all. For public universities, public libraries and museums, it adds the Department of Education to the agencies that can initiate legal hearings to find material ‘obscene’ after receiving anonymous citizen complaints. Higher education faculty actually could be arrested, charged and indicted if they are found to be using a book that is judged to be obscene, whatever that means.
“This is disgusting and meant to censor students’ education and deprive them of quality books. Book bans have no place in New Hampshire K-12, public libraries or higher education classes. We will fight vigorously to ensure that our students have the books they need to receive a well-rounded, honest education. We also will stand firm for the right to access the whole world of ideas through public libraries and universities.”
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