Bill banning ‘obscene’ books from public school libraries passes Okla. Senate

Published: Mar. 15, 2022 at 8:45 PM CDT
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Okla. (KXII) - School libraries in Oklahoma could see some changes to their collections, if a new bill that just passed the State Senate becomes law.

It is books that make the study of sex, sexual lifestyles or sexual activity their main focus, and it’s not every library, just the ones in public or charter school libraries.

This bill would also leave the door open for parents to request the removal of other books.

“I have no problem standing up and saying this is 100% wrong, this is not an attempt to do away with books this is not an attempt as Hitler did to try to burn all the books this is an attempt to say there is a moral standard that we should have there is a place that even when you can’t show it to adults,” House of Representative for District 19 Justin Humphrey said.

Senate Bill 1142 has already passed the state Senate, it’s on its way to the Oklahoma House next.

“You’re not allowed to have discussions indecent proposals to children and yet we are allowing books that have graphic graphic describes rape, describes human trafficking, graphic pictures of rape, graphic pictures of other sexual acts and how to’s and graphic pictures,” Representative Humphrey said.

This bill prohibits all public and charter school libraries from having certain books in their collections.

There’s not a specific list of banned books, and that’s on purpose, it is up to the discretion of the school districts, and eventually the parents.

“School children do in fact have first amendment rights just like all of us, however there are protections and exceptions to that, the exception being books considered obscene or vulgar which could have a detrimental impact on their minds,” an attorney Britton Brooks said.

If the bill becomes law, parents would be able to request a book be removed from the library, if they feel it is inappropriate for their kids.

“I think it’s a good thing that parents can be the gatekeeper of these books, if a parent things something is inappropriate or their child should not read it they have a duty to report that to a school board and get those books removed from those shelves,” Brooks said.

Representative Humphrey doesn’t think any of the books that would be banned are being used in southeast Oklahoma, but he said there are districts in the state that do.

“And again I really don’t care if you’re in Oklahoma or Northern Texas and you think it’s alright to have this in your school then you’re wrong and I ain’t got nothing for you,” Representative Humphrey said.

If this bill passes the House, it would land on the Governor’s desk.

If he signs it, it goes into effect July first of this year.

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