Ohio’s teachers unions are up in arms about an anti-obscenity bill proposed by a state legislator. The Ohio Education Association (OEA) and the Ohio Federation of Teachers (OFT) are ramping up their rhetoric in response to the bill’s proposals to create criminal liability for teachers and school librarians who buy, reproduce, promote, or advertise obscene materials.

The bill amends existing portions of Ohio’s state code that create consequences for the distribution and display of obscene materials and the creation and production of obscene performances. Exceptions are made for “health and biology teachers” and for materials that are “disseminated or presented for a bona fide medical, scientific, educational, religious, governmental, judicial, or other proper purpose.”

Ohio Education Association President Scott DiMauro said, “Educators will be encouraging legislators to defeat the bill and would testify against it.” He believes the bill is unconstitutional: “I think it’s a swipe at the First Amendment.”

Ohio Federation of Teachers president Melissa Cropper asserted that “[i]t’s a bill that’s looking for a problem that doesn’t exist” and argued that “this bill is again just following the lines of the culture wars that we’ve been experiencing and trying to indicate that things are happening, that aren’t happening.” Public records requests revealed that the Columbus Public School district recently purchased controversial books like “All Boys Aren’t Blue,” which features explicit sex scenes and sexual molestation of a child by a family member. Obscene books in Ohio schools are “happening.”  

Bill opponents also claimed that the bill attacks intellectual freedom and will “limit inclusivity,” ignoring the reality that all of the top ten “most challenged” books, as identified by the American Library Association, are challenged due to sexually explicit content, including rape and incest.

To learn more about how teachers unions protect obscenity in schools, read “West Virginia Education Association Advocates For Obscenity” and “Iowa Teachers Union Sues To Expose Children To Sexually Explicit Books.

For more information about teachers unions, check out the IWF Education Freedom Center’s Teachers Union Resource Center.