Story at a glance
- Oklahoma state Sen. Rob Standridge (R) this month proposed legislation that would enable parents to challenge books in public schools, setting a $10,000 bounty to be collected by parents for each day a challenged book remains on library shelves.
- A second piece of legislation would prohibit public Oklahoma universities from requiring students to enroll in courses addressing gender, sexual or racial diversity, or equality.
- Standridge is one of many lawmakers to propose bills targeting books considered inappropriate for children or young adults. Challenged books typically address race, gender and sexuality.
An Oklahoma state Senator this month introduced legislation that would allow parents to ban books in Oklahoma public schools. It would also set a $10,000 bounty to be collected by parents for each day a challenged book remains on library shelves.
Republican state Sen. Rob Standridge on Dec. 16 announced he had filed two bills for the 2022 legislative session, which begins in February, addressing “indoctrination in Oklahoma schools.”
“Our education system is not the place to teach moral lessons that should instead be left up to parents and families. Unfortunately, however, more and more schools are trying to indoctrinate students by exposing them to gender, sexual and racial identity curriculums and courses. My bills will ensure these types of lessons stay at home and out of the classroom,” Standridge said in a statement.
One of Standrige’s proposed bills would prohibit school libraries from having or promoting books addressing gender identity, sexual orientation or “books that contain content of a sexual nature that a reasonable parent or legal guardian would want to know about or approve of before their child was exposed to it.”
Parents believing a book violates the bill may demand school officials remove it within 30 days. If the book is not removed during this time, the school employee tasked with getting rid of it will be terminated —subject to due process— and prohibited from working at another school for at least two years
Parents may then seek “monetary damages,” according to the bill, including a minimum of $10,000 for each day the challenged book is not removed.
Under Standrige’s second bill, public universities in Oklahoma beginning next year would be prohibited from requiring students to enroll in courses “addressing any form of gender, sexual, or racial diversity, equality, or inclusion curriculum,” which fall outside course requirements for their major.
Standridge joins a growing number of lawmakers working to make book banning in public schools easier for parents and legislators. Recent efforts have mostly centered around titles educating children and young adults about race, gender and sexuality.
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