Schools have the custody of our children for the better portion of their waking lives in their most formative years. They should not be allowed, with impunity, to disseminate obscenity, child pornography, or matter that by definition is “harmful to minors.” Current obscenity, child pornography and “harmful to minors” laws exempt “schools, museums and libraries,” providing an “affirmative defense” against prosecution.
HB 427, “An Act Relative to Protecting Children from Harm in Schools,” was filed this session by Rep. Vinny deMacedo of Plymouth. This bill was sent to the Joint Committee on the Judiciary, and MFI testified yesterday in support of this bill that closes the loophole shielding schools from prosecution.
There is a second bill filed by Rep. Marc Lombardo (HB 1344) that also removes legal protections for schools to disseminate “matter harmful to minors,” but it fails to remove the legal protections for schools to disseminate obscenity and child pornography. For this reason, MFI strongly supports passage of HB 427 that goes a step further towards protecting children.