The Kentucky House passed a bill on Wednesday that would allow parents to challenge sexually explicit curriculum in the classroom.
In an 80-18 vote, the state house approved Senate Bill 5, sponsored by Republican state Rep. Josh Calloway, which would permit parents to challenge school materials that depict sexual acts “in an obscene manner” or are “patently offensive to prevailing standards” on what is appropriate for minors. The bill cleared the state senate in February, sending the legislation to Democratic Kentucky governor Andy Beshear’s desk.
“You may hear that this is book banning,” Republican state Rep. Russell Webber, who sponsored the bill in the House, said Wednesday, according to public radio station WKU. “This is not a book banning bill. This is a bill designed to give parents an opportunity to voice their concerns and to protect their children.”
Under the legislation, parents could submit a formal request challenging material to school administration, who would then conduct an investigation to determine if the curriculum reported is inappropriate for minors. Parents will have the opportunity to appeal the decision to the school board, according to the bill.
The bill would also require the Kentucky Department of Education to adopt a policy detailing a formal material complaint process for school districts. If Beshear vetoes the legislation, the bill has enough support from both chambers to override the governor’s action.
The legislation targets material that discusses sexual assault and human trafficking, which Democratic state Rep. Josie Raymond argued is important for students to read, according to WKU.
“They were not meant to arouse,” Raymond said, according to the outlet. “They were not arousing. They address real challenges that many of our students sadly do need to see represented so they know that they are not alone, they are not to blame, and they are not ruined.”
Parents across the country are challenging content within school districts that they consider sexually explicit and pornographic; in Maine, a group of parents created a database of 82 sexually explicit books, including “Tricks,” a story about five teenagers who get involved in prostitution. A school board meeting in Michigan was postponed after Muslim parents protested the presence of sexually explicit books including This Book Is Gay, a book that gives the “ins and outs of gay sex,” in the school libraries.
“While this bill does not go as far as I would like to see it go, even though some districts may have a current process, it does give a standard process so parents can be assured every district has to respond to their complaint,” Calloway told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “It also has brought the conversation in the public so that people can see what is actually going on and what types of inappropriate material our children are actually getting exposed to. With that being said, I will continue to fight to go farther and keep all children from being exposed to harmful, inappropriate material.”
Raymond did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.
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