How does the First Amendment protect the rights of students and teachers? This guide provides background on the legal and practical questions surrounding school censorship controversies.
Contestants must be either living in the U.S. or its territories (but need not be citizens), and must be age 19 or younger on the day the film is submitted. Films will be judged on content, artistic and technical merit, and creativity. Judges will be drawn from a panel of renowned writers, actors, and filmmakers. Films must be [...]
This Interview originally appeared in Censorship News Issue 125 Author Rainbow Rowell has won enormous praise for stories like Eleanor & Park, which perfectly captures the growing pangs, hormonal joys and general awkwardness of the teenage experience. Her raw portrayals of teenage life have, however, frequently made her books subject to censorship attempts. We spoke to Rowell about these challenges [...]
This article originally appeared in Censorship News Issue 125 Transit ads again A decision from the federal appeals court in Chicago revisits the contentious issue of ads on public transportation. The case involves a policy in Fort Wayne, IN, against advertisements that “express or advocate opinions or positions upon political, religious or moral issues.”The ad in question promotes a “free resource [...]
This article orignally appeared in Censorship News Issue 125 History textbooks are re-written every few years – not because the past changes, but because our understanding of it does. Even as we reconsider our understanding of the past, artifacts survive that remind us how our predecessors saw the world. Historical paintings are a case in point. Many such works are [...]
This article originally appeared in Censorship News Issue 125 Virginia state senator Amanda Chase recently claimed that three popular and highly-regarded books for teens are “pornographic.” The books were included on a high school summer reading list, but they were not required – students were free to choose other books. Nonetheless, Senator Chase demanded that they be removed from the [...]
About the Contest Each year NCAC challenges young people all across the nation to think about their First Amendment rights and the issue of Free Speech. According to the Knight Foundation, “Nearly three-fourths of high school students either do not know how they feel about the First Amendment or admit they take it for granted and more than a third [...]
After two parents complained about sex, drugs, and drinking in Stephen Chbosky’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower, which had been assigned in a 7th grade advanced language arts students at Pasco Middle School in Dade City, Florida, the superintendent called for the removal of the book and initiated a formal review that has recommended a district-wide ban. According the Tampa Bay Times, Superintendent Kurt [...]
School Library in Minnesota Removes Graphic Novel for “Vulgarity”; UPDATE: Board Allows Restricted Access
In Henning, Minnesota, a small town 90 miles southeast of Fargo-Moorhead, the award-winning graphic novel This One Summer was removed from the school library in early May after a parent complained. A “coming-of-age tale about the awkward transition from carefree childhood to jaded, self-conscious young adulthood,” in the words of a Booklist starred review, This One Summer contains a dozens instances each of a few four-letter words, [...]
Sherman Alexie's award-winning young adult novel is challenged yet again-- but this time the school district violated its own policy by pulling the book without a formal review.
A parent complains that an acclaimed graphic novel on the shelves at a New Mexico high school library is really child pornography. How will the school respond?
A young composer's Carnegie Hall debut was scrapped over concerns that his composition, which quotes Nazi and Soviet themes, was offensive.
Who gets to decide how history is taught? ACT! for America, a grassroots political advocacy group fighting "Islamofascism," is attempting to exert control over World History in Charlotte County, FL. NCAC has responded.
Can curatorial decisions about what belongs on library shelves, museum walls, or classrooms ever constitute censorship? It’s a blurry line that a children’s specialist in Ohio’s Greenville Public Library may have crossed when rejecting two donated Rush Limbaugh books.
Newly released documents show that the 2013 decision by Chicago Public Schools to remove Marjane Satrapi's popular graphic novel from the district's schools was just as dubious and censorious as it first appeared.
To advocate on behalf of those who cannot speak, sometimes it's necessary to understand what it feels like to be silenced. Judy Blume is a living testament to this very truth, and, for that, we salute her today, on her birthday.
Is the Museum of the City of New York censoring labor art--or merely exercising proper curatorial judgment?
Should "community standards" play a part in what is taught in the classroom? This is the question we asked Highland Park, Tx. school officials in a February 6 letter about new proposals to deal with controversies over certain reading materials.
Our theme in 2013 was “Video Games in the Crosshairs.” We invited teens 19 and younger to reflect on gaming and respond to those who trumpet a single narrative about video games and media violence. We asked them to show us why gaming matters, what attracts young people to it, what role it plays in our culture and to explore [...]
School officials resisted a challenge to a documentary film. But their new policies on instructional materials, while intended to reduce complaints, could actually do the opposite--giving would-be censors more power over what is taught in class.
National Coalition Against Censorship Contact: Peter Hart 212.807.6222 // c: 732.266.4932 // [email protected] FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: First Amendment Groups Say No to Proposed Book Rating Policy in Appoquinimink NEW YORK, January 12, 2015 — The National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) is urging Delaware's Appoquinimink School District against adopting potentially restrictive book assignment and checkout policy. The district’s new system proposes to [...]
Update: Victory for KRRP! The Appoquinimink School District has chosen not to implement new rules that would have allowed parents to sign forms barring their children from reading anything deemed too “mature.”
In late October, NCAC mobilized its partner organizations to pressure school officials in North Carolina's Maiden High School to reinstate a cancelled production of Almost, Maine. Now, the students will be staging a production of the play at an alternate venue.
Cancellation of The Interview: There is an Urgent Need to Affirm Our Commitment to Free Speech Amid Threats of Violence
NCAC issued the following statement and joined forces with the Secret Cinema Society to protest the cancellation of The Interview: There is an Urgent Need to Affirm Our Commitment to Free Speech Amid Threats of Violence In an age of anonymous communications and instant publicity, threats of violence have become increasingly successful in suppressing cultural expression. Just this past year, [...]
Supplementation, Not Suppression: Officials in Gilbert, AZ Won’t Redact Pages from a Biology Textbook
In October, a few school board members in Gilbert, AZ attracted national attention when they voted 3-2 to yank two pages from an honors Biology textbook. Thankfully, redaction is off the table after the most recent board meeting.
The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) and the National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) are urging University of Iowa president Sally Mason to issue a statement recognizing the First Amendment rights of Professor Serhat Tanyolacar and make clear that his artwork is fully protected under the First Amendment. The letter was issued in response to the forced removal from [...]
Update: KRRP wins again! Last night, the board President withdrew his appeal before it went to a vote, resulting in the return of the book to the shelves of Sussex Central High's library. Read more about the meeting here. Another day, another Cameron Post challenge. Just months after NCAC fought tirelessly against a challenge to emily m. danforth's lauded The Miseducation of Cameron Post in Cape Henlopen, DE, [...]
The Fault in Our Policies: NCAC Responds to Review of “Fault in Our Stars” Ban in Riverside Unified School District
Update: Another victory for KRRP! Last night, the board voted 3-2 to reinstate the book to middle school libraries. Read more about the decision here. In October, CA's Riverside Unified School District raised some eyebrows when a review committee decided to yank John Green's acclaimed The Fault in Our Stars from the district's middle school libraries. The reason? Age-appropriateness; the committee, in a [...]
Don’t hold your breath for nipple reveals or cock shows – while artistic representations of nudes remain a regular target of censorship, the most compelling and controversial artwork in 2014 came from artists challenging social norms and exposing cultural fissures. There was the occasional use of female anatomy or children as subjects, but what each painting, photo, or mural on [...]
UPDATE: After receiving NCAC's letter, pastor and school board member Shaun Fink has struck back against NCAC. Contrary to his earlier public statements, Fink now claims that he never called for the exclusion of materials on LGBT content or STD, HIV, and pregnancy prevention. At December 2's health curriculum subcommittee meeting, he also characterized NCAC's letter as a form of intimidation for the [...]
Late in September, in observance of the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s 13 Necessary and Proportionate Principles on Surveillance, NCAC noted thematic links between the NSA’s far-reaching surveillance tactics and those of public schools in the country. There, we observed that the underlying impulses behind surveillance on the national level and on the local level were uniform. This need to monitor and [...]
NCAC is joined by the American Booksellers Foundation For Free Expression, the Association of American Publishers, the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, the National Council of Teachers of English, PEN American Center, and the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators in a follow-up letter sent to the Highland Park Independent School District in TX. In the letter, we urge [...]
Today, NCAC was joined by the American Booksellers Foundation For Free Expression (ABFFE), the Association of American Publishers (AAP), the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (CBLDF), the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), the American Library Association's Office for Intellectual Freedom (ALA), and PEN America in a letter sent to the Kings Canyon Unified School District in Reedley, CA. In the letter, the signatories expressed [...]
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: National Coalition Against Censorship | (212) 807-6222 | [email protected] October 30, 2014 National Coalition Against Censorship Honors Neil Gaiman and Celebrates 40 Years of Free Speech Advocacy at Nov 3 Gala NEW YORK, NY —The National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) celebrates 40 years of free speech advocacy on Monday, November 3 at Tribeca 360° with an [...]
"Complacency is ever the enabler of darkest deeds." Robert Fanney recognized, as we do at NCAC, that silence and apathy lead to repression and censorship. In our 40th anniversary year, we celebrate the artists, authors, students, educators, librarians, lawmakers, celebs du jour, and yes, even corporations, who refused to remain silent on the top threats to free speech in 2014. [...]
(UPDATE: Good news! The students organized and managed to stage their performance at a local playhouse, thanks to a Kickstarter campaign.) NCAC and other organizations committed to artistic and intellectual freedom sent the below letter to Maiden High School in response to the cancellation of the scheduled January production of John Cariani's Almost, Maine due to concerns about the play's content. Although [...]
(UPDATE: The students organized and managed to stage their performance at a local playhouse, thanks to a Kickstarter campaign.) A mere week after the legalization of gay marriage in North Carolina, a school in Maiden has decided to cancel a scheduled January production of Almost, Maine over, yes, the presence of a same-sex couple in the play's storyline. In a case [...]