A new Oklahoma bill would give parents the right to remove books from school libraries that contain sexual content.
Senate Bill 1142 gives parents the right to request that a book be removed from a school library if the text in violation contains sexual content that “a reasonable parent or legal guardian” would want to approve of before their student reads it.
Under the legislation, only one parent must object to a book for it to be removed from the school library.
The school then has 30 days to get rid of the book. If the school chooses not to comply, the employee tasked with removing the book will be dismissed and is not eligible for rehiring for two years.
In an interview, Oklahoma State Senator Rob Standridge opened up about his concerns with various “overly sexualized” books, explaining that parents have been complaining about many of them for years.
“I think parents and grandparents, guardians should have a say on whether their kids are exposed to those books,” said Standridge. “If they want them, they can take (their children) to their local library.”
According to the bill, legal guardians and parents may seek monetary damages “including a minimum of …$10,000 per day” the book or books are not removed from the school library in question.
Standridge predicts that “Most likely these things will end up in court. 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. They may well disagree with the parent and say reasonable parents would want their children to be exposed to transgender, queer, and other sexually related books. I would doubt that.”
Banning books debated for years
In November, a Virginia school board reversed its plans to ban “sexually explicit” books after dozens of teachers, parents, and students thought the move was unconstitutional, according to reports.
The Spotsylvania County School Board had reportedly planned to remove books considered “sexually explicit” but failed to define what that categorization would mean.
In an October Florida school board meeting, a parent was removed for reading aloud from a sexually explicit book found in a high school library.
Orange County Public School officials took action following the meeting disruption, saying the board was not aware of four copies of the book Gender Queer available.
The books were taken off the shelves and were “under review,” according to the district.