ERIC Number: ED362926
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1993-Oct-24
Reference Count: N/A
Censorship of Written Curricular Materials in Public Schools: An Historical Investigation of Legal Parameters.
Hanna, Robert C.
The purpose of this study was to investigate and explain the censorship of written curricular and library materials in public schools over the past 20 years. Analysis of the 15 cases decided between 1972 and 1992, only one of which was decided by the Supreme Court, indicates that: (1) in every case except one, a school board or employees of the school district took the initial steps to remove formally the written curricular or library materials in question; (2) every approach to censorship focused on removing entire books or magazines, not just sections of them; and (3) about half the cases centered both on how and why decisions to censor were made, with the remaining cases focusing primarily on just one of these two aspects. Overall, with nine of the cases heard on appeal and six not, seven-and-a-half rulings prohibited censorship and six-and-a-half allowed it. Findings suggest that no unified body of precedents has been developed and consistently relied upon. Legal scholars commenting on the only case decided by the Supreme Court ("Board of Education v. Pico") provide insight into the future of public school censorship. The legal parameters of censorship to date indicate that until teachers, librarians, and other educators develop on their own an effective way to act instead of reacting to attempts at censorship, the search for truth and its free expression in public schools will remain at risk, higher courts notwithstanding. (Contains 37 references.) (RS)
Publication Type: Historical Materials; Information Analyses; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Controversial Materials; Educational Issues; Institutional Responsiveness; Legal Research
Note: Paper presented at the Joint Conference of the Midwest History of Education Society and the History of Education Society (Chicago, IL, October 22-24, 1993).