This bill provides an avenue to criminalize teachers, librarians, or other staff at public and private elementary and high schools for distributing or exhibiting “obscene material” to minors.
Wis. Stat. 944.21(8)(a) states, “The legislature finds that the libraries and educational institutions under par. (b) carry out the essential purpose of making available to all citizens a current, balanced collection of books, reference materials, periodicals, sound recordings and audiovisual materials that reflect the cultural diversity and pluralistic nature of American society. The legislature further finds that it is in the interest of the state to protect the financial resources of libraries and educational institutions from being expended in litigation and to permit these resources to be used to the greatest extent possible for fulfilling the essential purpose of libraries and educational institutions.”
Despite this unequivocally clear legislative intent included under current law that protects educators and librarians at the K-12 and college levels from prosecution, AB 308/SB 305 takes away immunity protections for those in K-12 schools.
Book bans and censorship efforts have a chilling effect and have historically been used to ban sex education material and material about LGBTQ+ issues from local libraries and classrooms.