Freedom to Distribute Obscene Materials to Minors Act

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Contact your state senator to protect children 

I could not believe what I read. I still have a tough time trying to wrap my mind around the intent and purpose of the bill.  

This past Monday, Senator Andrew Zwicker (D – Hillsborough) and Senator Teresa Ruiz (D – Newark) introduced Senate bill 2421. In a flat-out mockery of words, these sponsors describe their bill as “The Freedom to Read Act.”  

No way… they can not be serious. 

In stark contrast, I am unapologetically describing this bill as “The Freedom to Distribute Obscene Materials to Minors Act.” 

Yes, I am serious.  

Section 13 of Senate bill 2421 amends the New Jersey Code of Criminal Justice, 2C:34-3 – Obscenity for persons under 18. If this bill becomes law, teachers, librarians, teaching staff members, and library staff will be exempt from the current state law prohibiting adults from knowingly showing, exhibiting, and promoting obscene materials to children.  

Per New Jersey State Statue, 2C:34-3 – Obscenity for persons under 18 , “obscene material” is defined as: any description, narrative account, display, depiction of a specified anatomical area or specified sexual activity.  

“Specified anatomical area” means: 

⏺ Less than completely and opaquely covered human genitals, pubic region, buttock or female breasts below a point immediately above the top of the areola; or 

⏺ Human male genitals in a discernibly turgid state, even if covered. 

 “Specified sexual activity” means: 

⏺ Human genitals in a state of sexual stimulation or arousal; or 

⏺ Any act of human masturbation, sexual intercourse or deviate sexual intercourse; or 

⏺ Fondling or other erotic touching of covered or uncovered human genitals, pubic region, buttock or female breast. 

A person who knowingly sells, distributes, rents or exhibits to a person under 18 years of age obscene material is guilty of a crime of the third degree.

Senate bill 2421, “The Freedom to Distribute Obscene Materials to Minors Act” gives an “affirmative defense to a prosecution” for teachers, teaching staff members, school librarians, and staff members of public libraries when performing their job duties. In other words, they will be legally shielded from prosecution and free to promote and share sexually explicit materials with children.  

What else does this bill do?

Removes Local Control by mandating EIGHT different requirements local boards of education must adopt “at a minimum” to give all decision making power to determine what is sexually explicit to librarians and NOT parents.  Section 4 

Silences parents from expressing their disagreements regarding the decisions made by school librarians and teachers to distribute obscene material as defined in the law. This bill states parents can be held financially liable for court and attorney’s fees when objecting to the actions of librarians and teachers. Section 7 

Grants “protective class status” to library media specialists and teaching staff members (similar to race, religion, national origin, gender, age, disability, etc…) under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination – preventing local school boards from holding them accountable for distributing obscene sexually explicit materials to children.  Section 14 

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