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School Board Elections Are a Key Part of Fighting Book Bans

Artistically blurred empty classroom with wooden desks and green chalkboard

The Authors Guild has been actively fighting against unconstitutional efforts to limit access to certain books. While we agree that parents should have a say in what their children read, many state and local efforts to restrict the availability of books to minors infringe upon the First Amendment rights of both students and authors.

These days, an increasing number of people serving on or running for school boards around the United States are not interested in providing a diversity of books to students. Instead, their aim is to keep books about certain groups and certain parts of our country’s history away from students. One person who campaigned for election to a Texas school board determined to fight what she called “indoctrination” of students with inappropriate messages about sexuality and race recently discovered that nothing of the kind was going on in her school district.

One way you can begin to fight back against book bans is by learning about the people running for your local school board and their positions on this issue. Candidates who make claims of “indoctrination” and the need to keep books on LGBTQ+ or BIPOC topics or individuals away from students are leading school boards down an unconstitutional path. A federal court recently found an Arkansas law that sought to criminalize providing minors with certain materials unconstitutional, stating that speech “cannot be suppressed solely to protect the young from ideas or images that a legislative body thinks unsuitable for them.”

As school board elections take place around the country this year, we urge authors and all those who oppose book bans to learn more about the candidates who seek to control the books contained in your local schools and libraries, and to use your vote (and voice) accordingly.