The proposed California bill, AB 1078, aims to tackle the issue of book banning in school districts.
Proposed California Bill
Introduced by Assemblymember Corey Jackson of Riverside, the proposed California bill does not seek to completely prohibit book banning. Instead, its focus is on imposing fines on school districts that ban books specifically because they contain “inclusive and diverse perspectives.”
AB 1078 directly addresses the control that local school boards have over curriculum and book selection. Fox News reported that the proposed California bill recently underwent a hearing in the Senate Education Committee, which witnessed passionate debates from both proponents and opponents of book banning.
Supporters of the proposed California bill argue that it is crucial for all students, including those from diverse backgrounds such as students of color and LGBTQ+ students, to have access to educational materials that represent a range of viewpoints and experiences.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond, a vocal supporter of the proposed California bill, emphasized that while local control is important, it should never be utilized as a means to threaten, bully, or mistreat students.
PEN America, an organization dedicated to promoting free expression and literature, has been actively monitoring book-banning efforts for the past two years. Their research reveals that a significant portion of the banned books addressed race, racism, or featured characters of color, while others contained LGBTQ+ characters or themes.