Arizona House Bill 2495 forbids public schools from using material that includes “sexual conduct, sexual excitement, or ultimate sexual acts.” While the bill, which took effect September 24, allows exceptions for novels with “serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value” — with explicit parental consent — the intent of the vague language here is clear: Ban contemporary books with LGBTQ+ content and books that refer to female desire.
In this episode of #VelshiBannedBookClub, Ali Velshi discusses the bill’s impact on students and education in general with Arizona State Representative Daniel Hernandez, a vocal opponent to Bill 2495.
“They’re ostracizing some of the most vulnerable kids, they’re making it so that teachers can’t do their jobs,” Hernandez says. “This bill is so broad, that I still get on a daily basis teachers saying, what does this actually mean? What is something of artistic or historical significance? Can I teach the Bible?”
Hernandez, who helped end Arizona’s “no promo homo” law in 2019, sees extremism behind the language of bills like this that don’t shield students from sexuality, but instead teaches them that the sexuality of young women and the LGBTQ+ community is shameful.
“This really doesn’t actually help make things better for kids,” he says, “The reality is, we’re just teaching kids to read and be functioning members of society … to become critical thinkers.”
Listen to the interview below:
Velshi and Hernandez talk AZ House Bill 2495:
Velshi on banned books on MSNBC:
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