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Oklahoma Proposes Bill That Would Allow Parents To Remove Sexually Graphic Books From School Libraries

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A new Oklahoma bill may allow parents to seek the removal of books that they deem inappropriate from school libraries.

The bill, Senate Bill 1142, would give parents a right to ask for the removal of “books that are of a sexual nature that a reasonable parent or legal guardian would want to know of or approve of prior to their child being exposed to it,” according to the bill’s language.

“No public school district, public charter school, or public school library shall maintain in its inventory or promote books that make as their primary subject the study of sex, sexual preferences, sexual activity, sexual perversion, sex-based classifications, sexual identity, or gender identity,” the bill says.

If a student’s parent or legal guardian believes a public school library is maintaining books in violation of the bill, they would be able to submit a written request to the school district superintendent or charter school administrator to remove the books from the library, if the bill passes, and such books would need to be removed within 30 days of the request.

If the books are not removed within 30 days of the request, the responsible school employee would be “dismissed or not reemployed” and “be prohibited from being employed by a public school district or public charter school for a period of two (2) years,” if the bill passes.

Additionally, if the bill passes and a book meeting the above conditions is not removed, a parent or legal guardian could seek monetary damages, including a minimum of $10,000 each day the book requested for removal is not taken off of school library shelves. “This act shall become effective July 1, 2022,” the bill says.

The debate about whether or not books featuring sexual themes belong in school libraries has been ongoing in school districts across the country.

In Virginia, Stacy Langton, a Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) mother, complained to the school board about two books featuring child pornography and pedophilia available to young teenagers at school libraries. After reviewing the books, FCPS decided to put the two books back on library shelves as part of what it said is an “ongoing commitment to provide diverse reading materials.”

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