Democratic Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear let a bill that allows parents to challenge sexually explicit school materials become law without his signature on Tuesday.
Senate Bill 5, sponsored by Republican state Rep. Josh Calloway, lets parents file complaints over school materials that depict sexual acts “in an obscene manner” or are “patently offensive to prevailing standards.” The legislation passed the state Senate in February and then the state House on March 15 before Beshear allowed the bill to become law. (RELATED: Here’s What’s In The ‘Obscene’ Books Being Removed From Schools Across The Country)
“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.”
Under the legislation, parents can submit a complaint to school administration about any “harmful” materials that are “obscene” or depict “any sexual acts.” School principals would then review the material and determine whether the material should be removed.
If parents disagree with the school administration’s decision, they can appeal it to the school board, under the law. The law mandates that the school board consider parental input in their decision and allow parents to opt their children out of curriculum they disagree with.
The law requires the state board of education to draft a model policy for school districts regarding the challenging of sexually explicit materials.
“I cannot again support any bill that frustrates and limits the education of our children,” Democratic state Sen. Reggie Thomas told WDRB News.
Across the country, lawmakers are pushing for legislation that gives parents more of a say in their child’s education; the U.S. House of Representatives approved the Parents Bill of Rights on March 24, which would require school districts to annually post their curriculum online, allowing parents to review the materials.
“You may hear that this is book banning,” Republican state Rep. Russell Webber, who sponsored the bill in the House, told 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.”
Beshear’s office did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.
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