Louisiana AG’s gubernatorial bid raises ‘enormous concern’ over future push for book bans and censorship – The Hill

The story at a glance

  • Louisiana School Librarians Association President Amanda Jones is concerned about how the state attorney general has accused librarians and teachers of “peddling junk” to children.

  • Landry announced he was running for governor of Louisiana in October.

  • Shortly after announcing his candidacy, Landry published an opinion piece in which he accused librarians and teachers of peddling “graphic sexual content” to children.

Louisiana Association of School Librarians President Amanda Jones worries about the future of censorship in her state, especially if current Attorney General Jeff Landry (right) wins his bid for governor.

Landry, a conservative Republican supporting former President Trump, announced in October that he was running to serve as limited-time Governor John Bel Edwards (D) in 2023.

More Republicans are expected to join the race, which is seen as one of the nation’s most anticipated elections next year. But so far, Landry is the only candidate vying for Edwards’ job.

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As attorney general, Landry bumped Edwards’ head and pushed conservative policies on issues like the death sentence, Vaccines against covid-19 and LGBTQ rights.

Jones worries that as governor, Landry has extremely conservative policies on books that can be used in classrooms and libraries.

“If he becomes governor, I think there is huge concern that he will push for censorship and legislation banning books and encourage other groups to cause upheaval in public libraries,” Jones told The Hill.

“At a time when educators and librarians need support more than ever, he does the exact opposite,” she added.

Just days before announcing his candidacy for governor, Landry published an op-ed in The Gonzalez Weekly Citizen titled “Why do taxpayers subsidize the sexualization of children? »

In the article, Landry accuses state teachers and librarians of peddling “coal” to children and connecting them to “extremely graphic sexual content.”

“I struggled to find the right words to describe the new books now circulating in the children’s sections of our public libraries and public schools; but I too recognize pornography when I see it, even when it is thinly disguised as educational material for children,” Landry said in the article.

“Librarians and teachers are not empowering or liberating our children by hooking them up to books that contain extremely graphic sexual content that is far from age-appropriate for young audiences.”

As in many other “red” states, book bans in Louisiana have increased over the past two years, mostly under the guise of protecting children from sexual content.

While book bans are nothing new in the United States, the tactics behind the bans and their politicized nature are unique to the current wave of censorship.

And the targets of the bans are mostly books that touch the lives of members of the LGBQT community or people of color, according to an analysis by PEN America.

Louisiana currently has no state legislation banning books, but the new politicized wave of book bans has come to the state in other ways, including recently in the parishes of Lafayette and Livingston.

After the Conservatives took power Lafayette Parish Library Boardthe members granted themselves the power to ban the books earlier this year.

In August, Livingston Parish Council voted to restrict children’s access to some books in the public library that had to do with gender or sexual orientation, among other things. Some community members, including Jones, pushed back on the measure.

Jones received a barrage of harassment online and even death threats for speaking out against the council’s efforts to restrict access to the books.

Landry’s office did not respond to a request for comment from The Hill.

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