Teacher/Librarian Unions Back New NJ Law To Control School Libraries

The “Freedom To Read Act” was quietly introduced as Senate Bill 2421 by  NJ Governor Phil Murphy and other Democrats in the State Senate last January.  That proposed new law would destroy freedom.

It would deny parents and elected school board members the freedom to choose what books are read by their children in public schools. It would give un-elected government employees who are members of “woke” teacher and librarian unions absolute power to decide which books are in school libraries.

During the past several years, the NJ Teachers Union, the NJ Library Association, and the American Library Association placed books in elementary school libraries that violate longstanding laws against pornography.  These books also promote gender confusion, destabilize families and weaken bonds between parents and children.  At the same time, members of these “woke” associations systematically removed books that teach American true history and promote traditional American values.

Last February, a committee of the New Jersey State Senate scheduled a public hearing as a first step to approving the bill. However, it was cancelled after conservatives around the state voiced opposition.

Those conservatives included Northfield attorney Karyn White and Shawn Hyland of the New Jersey Family Policy Center. They also included Galloway Township School Board Members Ethel Hermenau and Ginnie Larrea and Ocean City School Board members Cathy Panico and Liz Nicoletti.

However, NJ Democrats are again pushing the bill.  A new public hearing is scheduled for next month.

State and local public-school officials are also threatening to file “ethics” charges against elected school board members who publicly oppose the proposed new law or their “woke” agenda in any way. They falsely accuse school board members of being “political” whenever they openly express opposing views at public meetings or through social media, statements to reporters, or in letters to the editor of local newspapers.

New Jersey law requires all 104,000 public school teachers to either join or pay dues to the radical NJEA Teacher’s Union. This gives the teachers union more than $100 million per year, and makes it the most powerful political organization in New Jersey.

New Jersey law also requires all libraries in the state to be run by employees with a “Masters of Library Sciences” degree from a program approved by the American Library Association.  This is long and very expensive program that cleverly selects and indoctrinates students to promote a “woke”, anti-American agenda.  Very few of the skills taught in this program are needed to efficiently run a school library.

Click Here For Link to Original Article:  GUEST COMMENTARY: Freedom to Read Act antithesis of freedom (pressofatlanticcity.com)

Karyn L. White, Esq., Northfield New Jersey

Representatives in the New Jersey Senate and Assembly have recently proposed new legislation entitled the “Freedom to Read Act.” The bill seeks to “establish requirements for library materials in public school libraries” and to protect school “library media specialists against harassment.”

However, what the bill really does is completely remove local control of school libraries from locally elected boards of education. It strips away parents’ and community members’ constitutional right to express dissatisfaction with decisions made by those elected officials.

“No single tradition in public education is more deeply rooted than local control over the operation of schools” — Milliken v. Bradley, 418 U.S. 717, 741-42 (1974). Local control maintains and stimulates the interests of parents and the community in their children’s education and provides flexibility in educational programs to meet a particular community’s needs. In New Jersey, the state has supervisory authority, but much of the duty and authority to operate public schools has been delegated to local boards of education. This bill significantly and substantially removes local control from New Jersey boards of education.

Specifically, the bill states that boards of education “shall” adopt a policy on the curation of library materials. The bill mandates “minimum” requirements, but those “minimum requirements” are so exhaustive (and not minimal) that BOEs have no discretion whatsoever in drafting the “mandated” policy.

The bill mandates that a board policy give the school’s “library media specialist” the sole authority to determine what materials are appropriate for the library and at what grades or ages these materials should be available. The bill requires that librarians have absolute legal immunity, civil and criminal, in deciding what materials should be in the library, and prohibits anyone from criticizing the materials chosen by the librarian. Under this bill, if you express disagreement with the librarian’s choices, you are guilty of harassment.

On what basis is this reasonable or lawful?

This bill also obliterates the state’s obscenity statute and allows librarians to decide what is obscene and what is not. If this bill passes, a “library media specialist” in the name of “diversity” can curate library materials that show less than completely covered human genitals, pubic region or buttocks, all in violation of the obscenity statute, and there is nothing anyone can do about it.

Deciding what library materials will be available to children should be decided within the parameters of the law presently on the books. Equally important, it should be left to the local BOE, with parents and community members having input. Local BOEs and school administrators should be held accountable when the materials they choose are inappropriate or not sufficiently diverse. Parents and community members should not be stripped of their constitutional right to challenge the decisions of their local BOE or school administrators. Deeming such activity “harassment” is a dangerous, slippery slope to eviscerating our constitutional right to free speech.

This bill indefensibly removes this responsibility from local control and places it in the total control of the state. It is a clear attempt to intimidate and stop any parent or community member who may disagree with the materials in the public school library from participating in the educational process. Once again, the State of New Jersey tells its public school parents to be quiet and accept our values, morals, decisions and judgment. The state is in charge of your local school. Just take it, and if you criticize or “harass” anyone about it, you will be found liable for discrimination.

Each BOE must take seriously its responsibility to ensure that all diverse viewpoints are expressed in its library’s materials. Equally important is that all views on how and at what age some topics are presented should be included in the decision-making.

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  • Mr Seth Grossman

    Atlantic City, NJ Attorney since 1975. Executive Director of Liberty and Prosperity since 2003. GOP Candidate for Congress, NJ State 2021, 2018. Adjunct Professor of Government & History at Atlantic Cape Community College 2010-2017. Contact sethgrossman49@gmail.com (609) 927-7333

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