For over a year now, we’ve seen state lawmakers introduce classroom censorship bills that restrict students and teachers from learning about race and gender in schools. Now, state officials and local school boards across the country are waging campaigns to remove books from schools that are by and about communities of color, LGBTQ people and other marginalized groups. We work in the courts, legislature, and community to ensure students are able to learn in an environment that is free from viewpoint-based or partisan censorship.
Students' Rights in the Courts
In April of 2023, ACLU of SC filed suit on behalf of NAACP and individual plaintiffs against Pickens County School District due to its politically and racially motivated removal of the book Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You from district classrooms, libraries, and media centers. The book was removed by the school board despite being reviewed by school and district-level panels who both unanimously agreed that the book is developmentally appropriate for junior English Language Arts classes.
Our lawsuit asks the court to declare that removing Stamped was unconstitutional and order its return to Pickens County school classrooms, libraries, and curriculums. We believe that students should be free to learn about the world around them without being hindered by politically motivated viewpoint-based censorship.
In the Legislature
The South Carolina General Assembly continues to attempt to enact classroom censorship legislation similar to the anti-CRT bills moving through legislatures across the state.
H. 3728, or the Transparency and Integrity in Education Act, is a bill that would prohibit specific discussions of race, gender, or sexual orientation and how they factor into the inequities that exist today. The bill subjects teachers and administrators to a burdensome complaint and investigation process, no matter how frivolous the complaint.
In the Community
ACLU of SC works with advocates across the state to mobilize communities to resist classroom censorship legislation and oppose book bans.