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ACLU-SC Rejects Censorship Proposal from State Board of Education



Press Release

The South Carolina Board of Education is considering a “Uniform Procedure for Selection or Reconsideration of Instructional Materials,” which will receive a first reading at the next board meeting on November 14th. The ACLU of South Carolina strongly opposes this measure, which is a clear-cut censorship policy. 

The board is seeking to create a new definition of “Age and Developmentally Appropriate” materials for classrooms and school libraries, overriding the standards and judgment of local school librarians and teachers. The policy would ban books for all students including high schoolers if they include “descriptions or visual depictions of ‘sexual conduct’” or if they include content that “could not be portrayed or read aloud on broadcast television or radio during daytime hours.” 

The policy would also set up an appeals process so that book banners who are not satisfied with decisions at the local level can take their case to the State Board of Education, with threat of punishment for local school officials. The draft policy is available to read in the attached PDF.

Executive Director Jace Woodrum gave the following statement:

“The ACLU of South Carolina rejects attempts by the State Board to usurp decision-making power and authority from local leaders, rejects this policy as written, and rejects the notion that such a policy is needed at all. 

Local educators are trained in ensuring students have access to age-appropriate materials, and they already have processes in place to respond to concerns from parents. This policy is a blatant attempt to seize power from local leaders. And we know why book banning organizations and their political allies like Superintendent Weaver would love a policy like this: Because when local school boards follow their own policies and listen to public input, the vast majority of challenged books are returned to classrooms. 

This policy would set arbitrary and narrow standards for age-appropriateness, effectively ending sex education. In a time when students have unfettered access to so much information on their phones, we shouldn’t be depriving them of materials chosen by trained educators to help them understand themselves and others. Under this policy, everything from the Bible to The Kite Runner to Brave New World could be considered inappropriate and banned. 

If enacted, this policy would throw open the floodgates for extremist groups like Moms for Liberty to challenge books in bulk. With this policy in place, self-appointed censors could do an end-run around local control and enforce their view of the world on all South Carolina children. And we know where this is headed: books by and about LGBTQ people will come under increasing attack, and the book banners will find a sympathetic ear on the State Board of Education. 

The State Board of Education is accepting public comments on the censorship policy. We encourage South Carolinians who oppose censorship to send their written comments to Lisa Widener, Assistant Director of Governmental Affairs, at

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