Update: The Criminal Justice and Pubic Safety Committee unanimously voted "ought not to pass" on this bill!
Overview: This ban would ban “obscene” books from Maine public schools by removing the exception that allows the use of “obscene” materials for educational purposes in public schools.
Currently, Maine obscenity law includes exceptions for noncommercial distribution and exhibition “for purely educational purposes by any library, art gallery, museum, public school, private school or institution of higher learning, nor to any commercial distribution or exhibition by any art gallery or museum.” This bill would remove the public school exception.
Books are speech, and limiting what books can appear in public high schools sends the message that the government should be able to decide what we can and cannot read. It chills the discussion of arts and literature in our schools, and makes teachers uncertain of what they can and cannot teach. Threatening schools with prosecution is the wrong way to handle material that some parents find challenging.