What the Law Says About Book Bans

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Public School Libraries 

It has long been recognized that removing books from school libraries is a serious threat to the First Amendment rights of students and their families. The Supreme Court held more than 40 years ago that “local school boards may not remove books from school library shelves simply because they dislike the ideas contained in those books.”  

Public Libraries 

People in the United States have a constitutional right to information and a fundamental way to exercise that right is through a public library. Therefore, removing materials from a library simply because some members of the community object to the content is censorship, which is a violation of the First Amendment.  

What the Law Says About Pride Flag Bans 

Just as the First Amendment protects freedom of speech for individuals, government bodies and public schools are also allowed to express their values by choosing which flags they will or will not fly. They are completely free to show they welcome LGBTQ+ people in their communities and their schools by displaying flags, or other displays, without running afoul of the Constitution. 

Part of our series: Hostile Territory: Mapping LGBTQ+ Censorship in Michigan