What do these books have in common?
They were all banned by the Board of Education of the Island Trees School District in New York in 1975 for being "objectionable" because they did not conform to board's conservative values.
The board called the books "anti-American, anti-Christian, anti-Semitic and just plain filthy," and said "it is our duty, our moral obligation, to protect the children in our schools from this moral danger as surely as from physical and medical dangers."
Well, high school student Steven Pico didn't like having his First Amendment rights trampled, so he took on the board -- all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. And 30 years ago today, he won.
"Local school boards may not remove books, simply because they dislike the ideas contained in those books," wrote Justice Brennan. "If a Democratic school board ordered the removal of all books written by Republicans, few would doubt that the order violated the constitution. Our Constitution does not permit the official suppression of ideas."
At its essence, the decision says that the right to express ideas must be supported by the right to receive ideas.
The ACLU of Montana is a firm believer in the First Amendment and we actively participate in Banned Books Week at the end of each September to encourage people to exercise their intellectual freedom and fight book banning.
Learn more about book challenges in Montana and what's considered by some as "Too Dangerous for the Big Sky."