At its November 17 meeting, the MRH Board of Education approved the Academic Freedom Policy in response to Missouri Senate Bill 775. That bill, which took effect in August, bans books with explicit or sexually inappropriate images in Missouri schools. It prohibits teachers from providing “explicit sexual materials” to students. Under this law, any educator in public or private K-12 Missouri schools who “provides, assigns, supplies, distributes, loans, or coerces acceptance of or the approval of the providing of explicit sexual material” will be charged with a Class A misdemeanor punishable by a fine up to $2,000 or a year in prison.
In approving the MRH Academic Freedom Policy, the Board pointed out that many years ago, MRH adopted an educational equity policy for the purpose of identifying and addressing all discriminatory practices, prejudices and beliefs with the intent to eradicate them. The Academic Freedom Policy states that "the MRH Board of Education has the power to determine curriculum and texts that support the curriculum as a means to ensure the academic and social-emotional success of all students. Because of Senate Bill 775, teachers no longer have academic freedom nor the freedom to discuss their subject content to develop students' ability to think critically about specific concepts and topics taught."