SAN FRANCISCO – Yesterday, Gov. Gavin Newsom, Attorney General Rob Bonta and State Superintendent Tony Thurmond sent a joint letter to California K-12 school administrators cautioning them against removing books from classrooms and libraries and affirming that schools must provide an unbiased and representative curriculum that includes contributions from people of color and members of the LGBTQ+ community.
In response to the letter and the California Department of Education’s recent guidance on removal of instructional materials, a statewide coalition of organizations advocating for students, families, and teachers released the following statement:
We applaud our state leaders for issuing guidance that protects the rights of California students to access books, curricula, and materials that reflect the full diversity of our state.
The law is clear—California students have the right to safe and inclusive classrooms and the right to freely talk and learn about race, gender, and sexual orientation. All students, including Black, Indigenous, students of color, and LGBTQ+ students, deserve to see themselves reflected in their education and studies show that representation increases their academic success.
Accurate and inclusive education helps ensure greater cultural understanding and awareness that builds empathy, affirms diversity, and fosters greater connection among all students.
This guidance comes at a critical time in our state. Nationwide, attempts to ban books from school and community libraries have increased dramatically, overwhelmingly targeting books by and about people of color and LGBTQ+ people. Meanwhile, the record number of anti-LGBTQ+ laws and policies introduced across the country have a measurable impact on the mental health of LGBTQ+ students, and have led to a rise in bullying, harassment, and discrimination. We are grateful to our state leaders for making it clear that censorship and discrimination will not stand in California.
ACLU California Action
ACLU Foundation of Northern California
ACLU Foundation of San Diego & Imperial Counties
ACLU Foundation of Southern California
California Association of Student Councils
California Federation of Teachers
California Teachers Association
Equal Justice Society
Genders & Sexualities Alliance Network
National Center for Youth Law
Our Family Coalition