Rep. Jim Walsh issues statement on growing concern local school boards could lose ability to choose materials allowed in schools

California’s governor recently signed a bill into law that eliminates the ability of local school boards to decide which textbooks, library books, and other materials are allowed in public schools based on the needs and desires of parents and students in their communities.

After receiving several calls and emails from concerned constituents who fear Washington state may copy their neighbor to the south, Rep. Jim Walsh, R-Aberdeen, issued the following statement:

“The questions and comments I’ve received from constituents are understandable. State-government bureaucrats in California are trying to make their power grab a national standard. Specifically, one said the bill ‘sends a strong signal to the people of California—but also to every American—that in the Golden State, we don’t ban books….’

“In fact, the bureaucrats’ rhetoric is full of references to ‘book bans.’ But that’s misleading. Local school districts aren’t banning books—they can’t. What they are doing is removing pornographic and sexually explicit materials from K-12 school libraries and classrooms. California’s new law allows unelected bureaucrats to force pornography back into schools. It strips authority from locally elected school boards to choose which textbooks and course materials they put in their classrooms.

“Washington families don’t want that. Allowing unelected bureaucrats to force sexually explicit materials into schools would be problematic here. Our constitution, laws and traditions give locally elected school boards ‘broad, discretionary power’ to decide what material goes in their libraries and classrooms.

“There is growing concern that some Olympia bureaucrats might support a bill that allows them to force sexually explicit material into public schools—including elementary schools. That’s why, with some of my colleagues, I am drafting legislation for the upcoming session that protects the existing authority of local school boards to decide. And safeguards the existing rights of parents and families to speak freely about the materials their children see and read at school.”


Washington State House Republican Communications