National responses are coming in to the Kansas Senate’s passage of SB 56, which would ease prosecution of K-12 teachers for exposing students to “harmful material,” and they are not kind to the state’s stand on expressive or academic freedom. “Here we are again, with the amorphous specter of public morals used to stifle free expression.... Does it need to be said again that teachers should have the freedom to determine what is read and discussed in their classrooms, that education is not about indoctrination but about the interplay of ideas?” asked Los Angeles Times book critic David L. Ulin, who also wrote that “the attack on one book is an attack on all.” A Salon article was headlined, “Kansas could put teachers in prison for assigning books prosecutors don’t like,” while MTV News reported: “Here’s Why Sex Ed Teachers Could Go to Jail in Kansas.” The site Book Riot observed: “This is a nightmare come true for many Kansas educators and advocates of intellectual freedom.... It’s official: Censorship is alive and well in Kansas.” Thanks, senators. – Rhonda Holman
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