Defend Every Student's Right to Learn
In classrooms and educational spaces across our country, a coordinated attack on our students’ right to learn is underway right now.
Since last year, 10 states have passed classroom censorship bills that restrict discussions about race, gender, and sexual orientation in schools. In 2022 so far, state legislatures have introduced 71 new bills across 22 states, many of which explicitly target K-12 schools.
If schools are found in violation of classroom censorship bills or restrictions, many may risk losing funding. In some cases, teachers could face formal admonishment or lose teaching licenses if they don’t comply with curriculum restrictions.
At the same time, politicians and school boards are making moves to ban books from public schools and libraries. As a result, schools can't make certain books – predominantly those by Black and LGBTQ authors discussing issues of race, gender, and sexual orientation – available to students to learn from and explore, even voluntarily and on their own time.
All of it leads to a chilling effect on academic freedom in our country.
We’ll be clear: Every young person has a First Amendment right to read and learn about the history and viewpoints of all communities – including their own identity – in and outside of the classroom. This wave of censorship legislation is attempting to erase the legacy of discrimination and lived experiences of Black and Brown people, women and girls, and LGBTQ+ individuals. And it’s refusing to let students think for themselves.
That’s why the ACLU is already hard at work to fight back against these damaging censorship bills and book bans through lawsuits and fierce advocacy. But while our teams push exhaustively in the courts and the statehouses – public support is also going to make a huge difference in the fight.
That’s why we’re asking you to join our pledge today. By adding your name, you are telling lawmakers nationwide that you oppose any efforts that would criminalize or censor books and education about race, gender, or sexual orientation – and that you support students, educators, and everyone's fundamental right to learn.
Join us in this critical fight for free speech and equitable education. Take our pledge today.