107 Iowa L. Rev. 363 (2021)
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When public school officials remove books from their school libraries, they run the risk of violating students’ First Amendment rights. The Supreme Court held in Board of Education, Island Trees Union Free School District No. 26 v. Pico that it is unconstitutional for a school board to remove a book based on the school board’s disagreement with the ideas expressed in that book. However, the Court maintained that a book could properly be removed based on its “educational suitability.” Although this standard has influenced most of the subsequent book removal cases, it has not consistently been applied. Recently, school boards have attempted to justify their removal decisions based on “educational suitability,” despite substantial evidence that those removals were politically motivated. At least one school board has argued successfully on educational suitability grounds, in part, because the Eleventh Circuit failed to critically analyze the record for evidence of viewpoint-based motivations. This trend is likely to continue. Thus, this Note argues that courts should abandon the Pico test and replace it with a more objective standard, based on the principles set forth in Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District.

Monday, November 15, 2021