A proposed Oklahoma bill would allow parents to ban books with sexual content from their school library.
Senate Bill 1142 would permit a parent or legal guardian to request a book with sexually explicit material to be removed from a school’s library within 30 days. A fine of up to $10,000 per day could be enforced if the measure is passed.
Republican State Sen. Rob Standridge introduced the legislation after hearing from parents and grandparents of children who had shared accounts of discovering books with sexualized content on school library shelves.
A report from the McAlester News-Capital that interviewed Standridge noted:
A few of the books he said he has concerns about include the “Trans Teen Survival Guide,” “Quick and Easy Guide to Queer and Trans Identities, “A Quick and Easy Guide to They/Them Pronouns,” and “The Art of Drag.”
“I just think that those are overly sexualized,” Standridge said. “I think parents and grandparents, guardians should have a say on whether their kids are exposed to those books. If they want them, they can take (their children) to their local library.”
Standridge said that even if the bill is passed, some schools are unlikely to comply and would lead to legal battles.
“My guess is the schools won’t comply and the parents will have to seek injunctive relief. That will be up to the trier of fact,” he told the McAlester News-Capital.
The bill is one of the multiple actions taking place in states to deal with increasingly sexualized content in books found in public schools. In November, two books were removed from Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) in Virginia after a parent dramatically read graphic passages from them during a school board meeting. The Daily Wire previously reported:
The two books — “Gender Queer” by Maia Kobabe and “Lawn Boy” by Jonathan Evison — were suspended “effective immediately” this week after parent Stacy Langton revealed the graphic sexual nature of the book. FCPS released a statement saying it would review the content of the novels:
Circulation of Lawn Boy by Jonathan Evison and Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe will be suspended with immediate effect. FCPS is in the process of convening two committees made up of staff, students and parents led by our Library Services Coordinator to assess the suitability of both texts for inclusion in our school libraries. The recommendation of the committees will be put forward to the Assistant Superintendent of Instructional Services who will make a final decision as to whether FCPS continues to stock these books.
The school district later reinstated the books in November, as The Daily Wire also previously reported:
Fairfax County Public Schools has reinstated the books “Gender Queer” and “Lawn Boy” after they were temporarily pulled because their contents depicting gay sex are so graphic that when a mother read from them at a school board meeting, she was cut off and school board members fled the dais.
“I can’t wait to have your c*** in my mouth. I am going to give you the blowjob of your life, and then I want you inside me,” parent Stacy Langton read from Gender Queer at a school board meeting on September 23.
“What if I told you I touched another guy’s d***? What if I told you I sucked it? I was ten years old, but it’s true. I sucked Doug Goble’s d***, the real estate guy, and he sucked mine too,” she read from Lawn Boy.
The books were pulled from the shelves pending a review by a committee, but on Tuesday, FCPS said the books were back in libraries as part of “reaffirming [its] commitment to supporting diversity in literature.”
Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott also addressed the controversy over inappropriate content in public school libraries in his state in November.
“Parents are outraged about highly inappropriate books in our public schools,” Abbott tweeted.
“In the wake of Texas Assoc. of School Boards’ negligence, Texas will develop statewide standards to shield children from pornography & obscene content in our public schools,” the governor added.
Parents are outraged about highly inappropriate books in our public schools.
In the wake of Texas Assoc. of School Boards’ negligence, Texas will develop statewide standards to shield children from pornography & obscene content in our public schools.https://t.co/88h8dEc2YI
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) November 8, 2021
“Instead of addressing the concerns of parents and shielding Texas children from pornography in public schools, the Texas Association of School Boards has attempted to wash its hands clean of the issue by abdicating any and all responsibility in the matter,” Abbott said in a letter to multiple state agencies related to state education.
“Given this negligence, the State of Texas now calls on you to do what the Texas Association of School Boards refuses to do. I am directing the Texas Education Agency, the Texas State Library and Archives Commission, and the State Board of Education to immediately develop statewide standards to prevent the presence of pornography and other obscene content in Texas public schools, including in school libraries,” he added.