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The Student News Site of San Marcos High School

Knights News

The Student News Site of San Marcos High School

Knights News

Wider Stories to Student Libraries

California Governor Gavin Newsom passes bill to penalize school boards participating in book- censorship
AB+1078+was+signed+into+law+on+Sept+25+to+ban+book+censorship+in+all+public+schools+across+California%2C+giving+students+wider+access+to+diverse+books.+Graphic+art+made+on+Canva+by+Fatima+Hamideh+
Fatima Hamideh
AB 1078 was signed into law on Sept 25 to ban book censorship in all public schools across California, giving students wider access to diverse books. Graphic art made on Canva by Fatima Hamideh

On Sept. 25, California Governor, Gavin Newsom, signed AB 1078 into law. This bill bans book censorship in the 10,000+ schools in the state of California. Prior to this bill being signed into law, book banning was an ongoing struggle, NPR reported that book banning and restrictions across the United States rose to 33% increase.

Newsom claims that “fringe ideologies attempt to whitewash history and ban books from schools,” and that it is time to reverse these actions by instating California’s role as a “true freedom state.” According to CA.gov, the official homepage for the state of California’s government, Newsom emphasizes ensuring the family’s rights to decide what their child reads, and not political leaders. 

 “When we restrict access to books in school that properly reflect our nation’s history and unique voices, we eliminate the mirror in which young people see themselves reflected…”

— First Partner, Jessica Siebel Newsom

With the passing of this bill, children will be better represented in their school libraries ranging from cultural to familial to historical diversity that has failed to be included on their school bookshelves up until now. First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom amplifies this stance by explaining the repercussions of censoring certain stories.

 “When we restrict access to books in school that properly reflect our nation’s history and unique voices, we eliminate the mirror in which young people see themselves reflected,” Siebel Newsom said, “and we eradicate the window in which young people can comprehend the unique experiences of others.” 

Dr. Tiffany Campbell, Deputy Intendent of Educational Services at San Marcos Unified School District elaborates on the importance of educating others on diverse cultures, and supplying students with resources to help enhance our understanding of each other. Dr. Campbell shared her experiences as a minority throughout her school years, sharing what it meant to her and what she learned from it. From normalizing the racist behaviors of her classmates to learning a single version of history, she recalls, “I was the only person of color in my school until high school… because of that, I rarely had instances of seeing diverse books.” Campbell took into account her experiences and applied it into her career today, making improvements to our schools.

 “I don’t think that it should be the responsibility of the person who is in the minority to have to teach others about [their] culture. We [the school board] have a responsibility to have other opportunities for students to learn about different people, different cultures… so that it does open their mind… so that we can approach people with curiosity and a base level of understanding,” Campbell said. “All of us have a responsibility to have a base level of understanding of the people who are around us.”

“All of us have a responsibility to have a base level of understanding of the people who are around us.”

— Dr. Tiffany Campbell

Fortunately, the San Marcos Unified school district is moving fast on implementing diverse books into their school libraries. San Marcos High head librarian, Yvonne Brett, reports that the library has received a grant to purchase an array of books, specifically novels, to build a collection for immigrant students. Brett takes pride in the school’s impressive book collections, reporting that although AB 1078 has just been signed, San Marcos High School students have always had a wide access to material regardless of their background or beliefs.

Many of the novels that students read as a class have been on the banned book lists multiple times, but has not really been a problem with our school board,” Brett said.

One book that some parents expressed controversy over, is The Kite Runner by Ahmed Husseini. The Kite Runner is taught at San Marcos High in all AP Literature and Composition classes. Brett explains that this book has profoundly impacted her perspective of this world, and really helped her understanding of different cultures and experiences. According to the reading motivation platform, Beanstack, reading helps break down, “preconceived notions we might have about others,” stripping schools from diverse books would be detrimental to students as they form an understanding of the world.

“I was the only person of color in my school until high school… because of that, I rarely had instances of seeing diverse books.”

— Dr. Tiffany Campbell

Campbell builds upon this statement, by stating that “book banning has always been a thing,” however San Marcos Unified values providing students with various stories. Both Campbell and Brett encourage parents to read the books they may have a problem with, but ultimately, San Marcos High School students will not be stripped from diverse resources. Governor Gavin Newsom also advocates for parents being more involved in their child’s education, with the belief that it is not up to policies to decide what is appropriate for a student to read, but it is up to their families to work together and make that decision.

According to CA.gov, Governor Newsom has required schools to make it “easier for working parents to participate in school decisions.”. Newsom invested $4.1 billion to convert one in four Californian public schools into community schools with deeper parent engagement. He invested another $100 million in the Community Engagement Initiative, an initiative to build communities and engagement in schools,  for more proactive collaboration with parents.

AB 1078 is a major milestone for California public schools. Through diversifying school libraries, students are able to better understand their peers and the world around them. Shining a light on the stories that aren’t usually told, this bill will enhance the ability to connect and understand peers, creating community; giving students the world in their library, as Cambell mentions,“books are freedom.”

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About the Contributor
Fatima Hamideh, Editor
Fatima Hamideh is a Senior at San Marcos High School. She joined Pendragon because she is passionate about learning and sharing stories through writing.

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    CharlotteNov 14, 2023 at 6:38 pm

    Your article is really good!

    Reply