Materials, which have been available to children as young as 3rd grade, violate state law
The News: The Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) issued a demand letter, on behalf of a group of concerned parents, to Elmbrook Schools urging immediate action to remove sexually explicit materials available through the district’s online library that violate state law and parents’ constitutional rights. At least three books and ebooks in the Elmbrook School system, which were until very recently available to children as young as 3rd grade, feature graphic instructions on sex acts and the use of online sex apps. The books are still available to 6th graders.
The Quote: WILL Deputy Counsel, Dan Lennington, said, “School districts have an obligation to know if their library collections feature sexually explicit material available to young children. Elmbrook needs to immediately address this content and make clear to District parents that they take this matter seriously.”
Background: Recently, the parent of a sixteen-year-old Elmbrook student used that student’s school-issued Chromebook to access Sora, a school-sponsored app that makes available Elmbrook’s ebook and audiobook collection to students “for all levels – preschool to adult,” and confirmed access to sexually explicit material. Another book is available in a middle school library.
The content that has parents concerned include:
- A book that instructs readers on the pros and cons of certain sex apps, including detailed explanations of “how sex apps work.”
- Another book provides a work around for “online dating” when an app has a minimum age of eighteen and offers detailed information and graphic instructions on sex acts.
- Another book features full-body nude illustrations of a young boy engaged in masturbation.
Moreover, downloading or viewing these electronic titles appears to evade Elmbrook’s parent-oversight program called Securly. Parents report that when a student uses Sora to search for sexually explicit materials, those searches and downloads are not reported to parents via Securly.
The Law: Elmbrook Schools’ offering of this sexually explicit material violates the law in some fundamental ways.
- State law closely regulates human growth and development instruction in public schools. The law requires all instruction to be “age appropriate,” which the identified materials clearly are not.
- Elmbrook’s decision to provide these sexually explicit materials, outside of the statutorily permitted human growth and development instruction, undermines basic parental constitutional rights.
WILL’s Demands: WILL’s letter, on behalf of concerned parents, makes the following demands of the Elmbrook School District.
- Elmbrook should investigate and publicly identify all sexually explicit materials currently available to students through the Sora app or in libraries and provide an accounting for which sexually explicit materials were available in the recent past.
- Elmbrook should remove all sexually explicit materials that are available outside the district’s official human growth and development instruction.
- Elmbrook should ensure that Securly, or some other parent-oversight app, is available to allow parents to know whether their children are searching or downloading sexually explicit materials from Elmbrook-sponsored site.
- Elmbrook employees should be trained in compliance with Wisconsin state law on the topics of human growth, development and sexuality.
- Superintendent Hansen should apologize to taxpayers, parents, and students for offering this sexually explicit materials to children who have been entrusted to Elmbrook’s care.
- WILL’s Letter to Elmbrook Schools, July 13, 2021