The decision to pull all of the yearbooks smacks of viewpoint discrimination. Justice William Brennan in his dissent on Hazelwood v Kuhlmeier warned that the decision to protect students from controversial or sensitive topics is actually “camouflage” for viewpoint discrimination: “Even in its capacity as educator the State may not assume an Orwellian ‘guardianship of the public mind.”
The Florida legislature is well on its way to approving a bill that could have dramatic consequences for Florida students’ and teachers’ intellectual freedom. Proponents of HB 989 / SB 1210 claim that the bill improves transparency and gives parents a stronger voice in their children’s education. But we have to ask questions about these claims.
ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom released its list of the Top 10 Most Challenged Books of 2016, and as usual, the majority of books are for children and teens.
Far more than just “keepers of the printed book” (our original job description), we are now, perhaps more than ever, guardians of our teens’ emotional as well as intellectual needs. A large part of our job responsibility is to provide a safe space, a blanket of warmth and comfort, a plethora of intellectual and emotional resources to the young adults we serve.
At a Des Moines Public Schools School Board meeting last month, board members wore black armbands to honor the legacy of students’ right to free expression, including the right to peaceful political protest. The armbands were a visual link from the recent student walkouts and protests in Des Moines and around the country back to the landmark 1969 Tinker vs. Des Moines Independent School District Supreme Court decision that has forever tied Des Moines to the issue of students’ rights.