Senate Bill 226 would remove ‘obscene items’ from school libraries

Governor Brian Kemp is backing legislation that would make it easier for parents to get books in their child's school district banned.
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DUBLIN, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – The Forsyth County School District in Cumming released a list of eight books Monday that are now banned from all school libraries within the school district.

That same day, Governor Brian Kemp visited the schools to speak about his educational goals for this year.

Governor Kemp said banning ‘obscene items’ from schools is one of his top priorities for the 2022 election year session. Those obscene items start with the school library.

Right now, school librarians have a choice of what goes on their library shelves. However, with the introduction of Senate Bill 226, that may not be the case for much longer.

Anna Collins, the Media Specialist at East Laurens Elementary, says the bill could have a negative impact if it’s passed as law.

“I understand why the bill is coming about and looking at being passed, but I do think that we need to be careful about what we’re keeping away,” Collins explained.

All school librarians undergo training for book selection. Collins says she always tries to make sure a book fits certain criteria before it’s put on a shelf.

“First I try to look at books that support the curriculum that we teach here at the school,” Collins said. “Then I also look at the age-appropriateness of the book and grade-level appropriateness.”

Senate Bill 226 would make it easier for parents to challenge these decisions and have books banned from their child’s school.

The bill states parents who believe school materials to be obscene can report them to the school principal or their designee. The principal or school administrator would then have 10 days to determine whether the material is harmful and if it should be banned. If parents are unhappy with the answer, they can appeal to the school board.

If a book does get banned from a school and other parents disagree, the public library is always an option for access.

Senate Bill 226 only applies to school libraries, and public libraries are exempt.

Middle Georgia Regional Libraries Director Jennifer Lautzenheiser says her libraries always take challenges into consideration and carefully choose books that represent the community they serve.

“A very important part of our policy is that every family gets to see themselves represented in the public institution,” she said. “And so there should always be something here that they can identify with.”

Georgia legislators have until April 4 to decide if SB 226 will become law.

Categories: Education, Exclusive Content, Featured, Georgia News, Laurens County, Local News

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