Under the guise of “free access to information” the Anchorage School District has allowed its school librarians to order and display books for minors which depict or describe graphic scenes of sexual intercourse, masturbation and oral and anal sex.
The Watchman has reported on these books, and parents have increasingly raised objections at recent school board meetings. But the question goes beyond personal disagreements about whether these volumes are suitable for children. Municipal law also has something to say. City code (Chapter 8.50) addresses “offenses harmful to minors.”
According to city code, it is unlawful for any person to knowingly “disseminate, distribute, offer to distribute, or exhibit indecent material to a person who is less than 18 years old.
The law defines “Indecent material “ as a “picture, photograph, drawing, sculpture, motion picture film, or similar visual representation or image of a person or portion of the human body which depicts sexual excitement, sexual conduct, or sado-masochistic abuse which is harmful to minors.”
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This would include “books, pamphlets, magazines or any printed matter, “however produced,” or any “explicit and detailed verbal description or narrative accounts of sexual excitement, sexual conduct, or sado-masochistic abuse, and which is harmful to minors; or an enactment of sexual conduct or sado-masochistic abuse, or exhibition of sexual excitement, by one or more persons.”
The definition of sexual conduct means “any sexual act, normal or perverted, or any act of masturbation, excretory functions, or lewd exhibition of the genitals.”
Sexual excitement means “the condition of the human male or female genitals when in a state of sexual stimulation or arousal.”
Anchorage law considers material harmful to minors if the representation of sexual material – when taken as a whole and according to contemporary community standards – appeals to prurient interests in sex and does not have “serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value.
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