SEND AN EMAIL: Don't Arrest School Librarians in Montana
House Bill 234 would subject every employee of a school or library to criminal prosecution
Montana school librarians and educators are under attack at the Montana Legislature. House Bill 234 would subject every employee of a school - including school librarians - to criminal prosecution under obscenity laws for any books, ebooks, and educational resources in their library. The bill has passed the House and is now moving to the state Senate.
We were able to remove public librarians and museums from this bill, but we need your help to fight for school librarians and every educator.
HB 234 would criminalize our school librarians, teachers, and educators for following the guidance of their locally-elected school boards. Since the 1980s, Montana law has made sure that the folks who serve as school librarians can do their jobs safely. Public school staff - including teachers, school librarians, nurses, counselors, and art teachers - would be subject to criminal prosecution under state obscenity laws. HB 234 would subject them to 6 months jail time and costly lawsuits over anything a person might find “obscene”, from classic literature to anatomy textbooks.
Montana school libraries could be harassed or prosecuted in court under obscenity laws for any books, ebooks, and educational resources in their library. Everyone who teaches health classes or art classes could be fined or even jailed over sensitive subjects.
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It's not a reasonable thing to make criminals out of our school librarians and educators. Please join the Montana Library Association, the Montana Federation of Public Employees (MFPE), the Montana Art Gallery Directors' Association: MAGDA, and EveryLibrary in opposing HB234. The bill is going up for a vote in the state Senate very soon. Please take a moment and tell your Senators to stop this bill before it goes any further. Use the form on this page to send your message today.
Fundamentally, every person has a right not to read a book every person has a right to have their child not read a
book. But that same person does not have the right to tell an entire school - or an entire community - that they can’t read that book.
(updated February 10, 2023 following the vote in the full House)