Oh, my, that was cathartic. On a more serious note, however, the battle for the books continues:
On the censorship front, Louisiana School Librarian of the Year 2021 Amanda Jones was being harassed after exercising her First Amendment rights to speak out against censorship of library materials during a library board meeting in Livingston Parish. The deplorables present discovered that she was a school librarian and after the meeting they attacked, harassing her and creating memes suggesting that she was teaching children anal sex.
Jones at first more or less hid, but then grew furious at attempts to intimidate and silence her. So she fights back.
“I’m just sick of it,” she said. “I’m so angry. And I’m so tired. I’m tired as a librarian, of seeing librarians being bullied for doing their job. But I’m also tired as an educator of this attitude that people of the public think they can just write whatever they want online and completely defame someone without consequences. I got it.”
Jones thinks these people chose to attack her, and no one else who spoke out against censorship at the meeting, because they believed that if they could shut her up, everyone would be scared of themselves. express in the future. She is suing Citizens for a New Louisiana executive director Michael Lunsford, as well as the person who runs the Bayou State of Mind Facebook page who created the meme.
She tries to stop the two men from publishing more information about her and plans to take them to civil court for defamation. As librarians across the country are attacked and harassed, Jones took the unusual step of seeking legal counsel.
Stay tuned. Jones says her opponents are well funded, but she’s “in the long haul.” She has a GoFundme to support the effort and pay the fees, if interested, which raised a little more than her goal of $20,000, but I’m sure she could always use more help. .
A final excerpt from the article, which is worth reading if you haven’t already, which is very important:
“You don’t realize how prevalent it is right now, because a lot of people aren’t talking about it,” Jones says. “It’s scary, and they’re embarrassed, and they just want it to go away.”
That silence plays into the hands of the harassers, Jones says.
“That’s what they’re counting on.”
And finally, the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE) is looking for high school students willing to defend their school and public libraries and file lawsuits against censorship attempts:
“FIRE is specifically looking for student complainers,” he says. “We would like to bring lawsuits on behalf of high school students who face vigilante censorship by school boards who ignore or simply invent policies to remove disputed books. We would love to hear from librarians and we would love to hear from students.
With legal action, FIRE hopes to bolster the Supreme Court’s decision by School Board, Island Trees School District v. peakCreeley said.
In 1976, Stephen Pico and three other students sued the Island Trees School District in Levittown, New York, for removing books the school board called “un-American, anti-Christian and just plain dirty”, and that the bans were part of their duty and obligation to “protect the children” of the school district from “moral hazard”. The books included Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut and The best short stories by black writers edited by Langston Hughes, among other titles.
Go get them.