As David would later explain on Derrick Anderson’s Facebook show this Wednesday, “[w]e looked at that law very carefully, because there are books in the schools, there are books in our libraries, that many parents – and you know that I’m a dad of three children, Derek – that there are many parents who would look at those materials and say, ‘I don’t want my child getting those copies of those books and the second grade and the first grade.’”
However, David’s office also had to weigh ‘defenses’ for potentially offensive material provided by N.C.G.S. 14-190.15(c)(2), which “explicitly exempts parents, schools, libraries, and other governmental and medical agencies from its purview,” according to David, whose office found the law “prevents schools and their employees from being charged under this statute, assuming that the materials were disseminated as a legitimate function of employment with the school system.”
Ultimately, David informed McMahon that his “investigation did not produce any evidence that the presence of these books was not a legitimate function of employment.” In other words, his office found that the First Amendment protected the books – and the teachers and librarians who provided access to them.
“What the law says is that the First Amendment carefully carves out if you are an educational facility, including not just a school, but also a library, there’s a very high standard on whether or not those materials can be considered obscene. And you can’t just go arresting a school teacher or a librarian, having those materials in their possession or even giving those to children through a lesson,” David told Anderson.
While David told Anderson he shared some of the protestors’ concerns about material in the library, he defended the library’s material and staff on legal grounds, saying, “the opinion that we rendered to Sheriff McMahon prior to that meeting was, even though some who are listening right now may regard it as absolutely offensive, it was nonetheless protected speech under the First Amendment, and no one was going to be arrested for those books in the library or the schools.”