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Texas Lawmakers Propose Law to Regulate School Library Books

Texas Lawmakers Propose Law to Regulate School Library Books
(Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

By    |   Wednesday, 16 November 2022 07:32 PM EST

Republican lawmakers in the Texas House proposed new legislation this week seeking to establish an age-appropriate rating system for books in school libraries.

The bill, authored by state Rep. Tom Oliverson, would mandate that publishers add the ratings to all books sold to school districts and open-enrollment charter schools in Texas. Further, state agencies could direct publishers to amend any of the ratings they choose.

The materials specifically targeted by Oliverson target books featuring "explicit depictions of sexuality, strong profanity, and graphic violence," pushing them only to be labeled for those 17 and older.

Liberal advocacy group PEN America condemned the bill in a Wednesday press release, calling it "a dangerous escalation in the movement to censor public education."

Rather quickly, "those who advocate for school censorship have gone from trying to control what can be studied and read to trying to control the decisions by private companies about what to publish in the first place," PEN argued.

The rating system "would concentrate unprecedented power in the hands of government officials to dictate the bounds of what all students and families can read, learn, and share," the statement added.

Oliverson's proposed law comes months after the Texas Education Agency released new standards instructing districts how to remove and prevent "obscene content" from entering public school libraries.

"There have been several instances recently of inappropriate materials being found in school libraries," TEA commissioner Mike Morath wrote in a letter to Republican Gov. Greg Abbott. "This model local school board policy will serve as a helpful guide to school boards as they create the policies for their school district libraries."

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Politics
Republican lawmakers in the Texas House proposed new legislation this week seeking to establish an age-appropriate rating system for books in school libraries.
texas, book banning
269
2022-32-16
Wednesday, 16 November 2022 07:32 PM
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