Metro Weekly

California to Outlaw Book Bans

California lawmakers overwhelmingly passed a bill to stop school districts from banning books related to gender and racial diversity.

Gov. Gavin Newsom – Photo Illustration: Todd Franson

Lawmakers in California passed a bill seeking to bar public school districts from banning books and curricula related to gender and racial diversity. The bill, AB 1078, passed the Assembly in May by a 61-17 margin, and the Senate last week by a 31-9 margin. 

Under the bill, sponsored by Assemblyman Corey Jackson (D-Moreno), school boards will be financially penalized if they vote to ban books or educational materials related to Black, Latino, Asian, Native American, and LGBTQ topics — provided those topics are part of the school’s approved curriculum, reports Los Angeles-based CW affiliate KTLA.

The bill was sparked by a controversy in the Temecula Valley Unified School District, in which the board’s conservative members rejected an elementary school social studies curriculum over supplemental materials that mentioned Harvey Milk as the state’s first openly gay elected official, with the board president dubbing the former San Francisco Supervisor a “pedophile.”

State officials blasted the board and threatened legal actions and fines, prompting the board to backtrack and adopt the approved state curriculum. Other conservative school boards throughout the state have attempted to impose similar bans on LGBTQ topics or racially-tinged issues, dubbing such material “inappropriate” for minors. 

The bill now heads to Gov. Gavin Newsom for his signature into law.

“California is the true freedom state: a place where families — not political fanatics — have the freedom to decide what’s right for them,” the governor said, praising the bill. “All students deserve the freedom to read and learn about the truth, the world, and themselves.”

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