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May 8, 2023


Chair Bird, Vice-Chair Fowler-Arthur, Ranking Member Robinson, and members of the House Primary and Secondary Education Committee:

The Campaign for our Shared Future (COSF) is committed to fighting for the right of every child to an inclusive and high-quality education that prepares them for success in life. Unfortunately, House Bill (HB) 8 undermines this goal and would help dismantle public schools that serve as the backbone of this country.

HB 8 is not about protecting children – it’s about banning books. This bill would give a single person the power to appoint themselves judge and jury over what’s appropriate for everyone else’s children. Parents already have the power to make choices about their children’s education. In fact, federal law protects their right to review their child’s materials. All they have to do is ask.

HB 8 could result in more books that reflect ALL of Ohio’s children being pulled from library shelves. Indeed, one in three books censored last year feature LGBTQ+ characters. ALL of Ohio’s children deserve to see themselves and their families represented in books.

HB 8 is a needless waste of resources. HB 8 could result in every school hunting down words or sentences from tens of thousands of books, which will remove teachers, librarians, and administrators from their primary responsibility to educate children. This bill is burdensome and would undermine continued efforts by the legislature to tackle the teacher shortage crisis.

HB 8 is redundant and unnecessary. Federal law already guarantees parents’ a right to access their child’s education records, and allows parents and guardians to review any surveys before they are administered to their child, among other guaranteed rights. Provisions concerning students’ records are a thinly veiled attempts to “out” LGBTQ+ students to their parents without their consent and will undoubtedly create barriers for students who need mental health services but may not have supportive or involved parents.

HB8 is a distraction from the real issues facing Ohio's students: staff shortages, substandard school facilities, insufficient school funding, and more. Say NO to HB 8 because all Ohio students deserve the right to access robust, high-quality education.


Heather Harding

Executive Director of the Campaign for Our Shared Future

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