DENVER – Members of the Jefferson County School Board have proposed a new “board committee for curriculum review” with a stated mission to “promote citizenship, patriotism, essentials and benefits of the free enterprise system, respect for authority and respect for individual rights.” According to the board’s proposal, “Materials should not encourage or condone civil disorder, social strife or disregard of the law. Instructional materials should present positive aspects of the United States and its heritage.” The review committee would also be tasked with informing the school board of “objectionable materials.”
ACLU of Colorado Executive Director Nathan Woodliff-Stanley issued the following statement:
“The ACLU of Colorado is watching with a concerned eye attempts by Jefferson County School District officials to institute an apparently ideologically-motivated review of the district’s history curriculum.
“State-funded school curriculum should promote academic integrity, not ideological agendas. A committee that polices educational materials for insufficient devotion to patriotism or a lack of respect for authority runs the real danger of substituting propaganda for education.
“It’s troublesome, especially during a week in which the ACLU and anti-censorship advocates across the country recognize Banned Books Week, that the curriculum review committee would be charged with identifying and referring so-called “objectionable materials” to the school board. “Objectionable” is a standard that lends itself to censorship by empowering a small few to judge content based on their own personal or religious beliefs.
“The ACLU of Colorado offers its support to the students, teachers, and parents who have exercised their right to peacefully protest the proposal. It’s ironic that an attempt to downplay examples of social change being accomplished through civil disobedience has spurred a community-wide crash course in just how important it is to be able to speak out and question authority in a just and democratic society.”
For an infographic of banned books throughout history: https://www.aclu.org/free-speech/infographic-banned-books-week
Read Fighting for Captain Underpants, a new blog about censorship in recognition of Banned Book Week: http://aclu-co.org/blog/fighting-captain-underpants/