by Jeremy Leaming
The state that gave the country one of the harshest anti-immigrant laws, spurring an even nastier measure, the one Alabama produced, is now contemplating a sweeping bill aimed at curtailing free speech at the state’s public schools and universities.
As The Daily Agenda’s Anthony Badami reports the Arizona state senate is considering SB 1467 “that would require schools and universities to refrain from engaging in ‘speech or conduct that would violate the standards adopted by the federal communications commission concerning obscenity, indecency and profanity if that speech or conduct were broadcast on television or radio.’”
Badami notes that such a measure if adopted could jeopardize teaching literature or history “that include offensive, derogatory, and/or lewd language, creating a special difficulty for the examination of free speech/obscenity cases, esp. in constitutional law courses.” The bill, if enacted, could, as Badami correctly notes, make it incredibly thorny for educators to teach certain works of fiction, say D.H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover.
The Republic, a Phoenix daily, reports that the bill is supported by Republican state lawmakers who want to “require teachers to limit their speech to words that comply with the Federal Communications Commission regulations on what can be said on TV or radio.”
As the newspaper notes, the FCC can fine broadcasters for airing obscenities during certain times.
The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Lori Klein, R-Anthem, told The Republic that she has received complaints that teachers are using so-called obscenities in the classroom.
But Chris Maza, a high school French teacher of more than 20 years, countered that he did not believe teachers were spewing profanities in the classroom. Maza added that he was also concerned the measure could seriously hinder teachers’ abilities to do their jobs.
Greg Lukianoff, president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, blasted the bill in a piece for The Huffington Post, writing it is surely “the most hilariously unconstitutional piece of legislation that I’ve seen in quite some time ….”
“The bill,” Lukianoff continues, “doesn’t even require that the profanity be uttered in the classroom, it just generally says that if a professor or, for that matter, a K-12 teacher, engages in FCC-regulated conduct or speech at all, he or she can lose their job.”
Badami’s post is aptly titled, “Arizona Lawmakers At It Again ….” On immigration the state, as already noted, is out to make life incredibly difficult, if not impossible, for undocumented people. At least among a handful of Ariz. lawmakers, there is an attempt underway to make life for public school teachers untenable.
[image via Andrew Huff]