By Elena Chin
The Supreme Court has ruled that, “transmitting obscenity and child pornography, whether via the internet or other means, is…illegal under federal law for both adults and juveniles.”-Reno v. ACLU, 521 U.S. 844
Obscenity is not protected under First Amendment rights to free speech. Violating obscenity law is a criminal offense. Distributing obscene material to children under the age of 16 is even more strictly prohibited, and is likewise punishable under federal law. However, in 44 states nationwide, as sexual education curriculum, children in pre-school through grade 12 are being exposed to inappropriate explicit material that fits the legal definition of obscene. The same material, if presented to minors by adults other than educators or librarians, would be deemed obscene, harmful, and treated as a criminal act punishable by federal law.