The American Civil Liberties Union of Delaware on January 8th urging against enacting a procedure that would restrict students' free speech rights.
Under the plan described at the December 9, 2014 Board meeting, district employees, presumably school librarians, will be required to designate as “Young Adult” all books and other materials in the school libraries that contain mature or explicit themes. Each student’s parent will be able to submit a form to the district instructing it that the student may not check out Young Adult materials from the school library and media center. In addition, teachers will not be permitted to include Young Adult material in a student’s assignment to unless the student’s parent has signed a permission slip allowing the student to see that specific material.
The requirements that would be imposed if Appoquinimink implements the new processes do more than deter students from exercising their First Amendment rights to freely choose which school library materials to read or watch. They would prevent students from choosing some materials without parental approval. Enabling parents to determine what materials the professional educators make available and assign—and, by extension, allowing the possibility to deprive students of education the educators have determined is valuable—violates students' First Amendment rights and deals a significant blow to teachers' academic freedom.