NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Today the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to send the bill targeting so-called “obscene” materials in public school libraries to summer study, effectively killing the legislation.
As amended, SB 1944/HB 1944 would have required that if a parent complained that a book is obscene, it be removed from library shelves immediately, for at least 30 days. Current practice allows contested books to remain in place while they are reviewed.
Obscene content is narrowly defined under the law, including only materials that, based on community standards, appeal to the prurient interest, depict sexual conduct in a patently offensive way, and lack serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value. Obscene content is already prohibited in schools under current law.
Hedy Weinberg, ACLU of Tennessee executive director:
“We applaud today’s vote to send this misguided, unnecessary bill to summer study. Obscene content is already prohibited in schools under the law, as it should be. This bill amounted to nothing more than unconstitutional censorship. All parents want schools where students are valued and accepted, and truthful education that sets kids up to succeed. Stopping this bill allows schools to continue creating a safe environment to talk about tough issues, supporting kids of all backgrounds.”