Bill would allow Ky. parents to file complaints about ‘obscene’ material in schools

Bill would allow Ky. parents to file complaints about ‘obscene’ material in schools
Published: Feb. 23, 2023 at 4:20 PM EST
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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - A bill that could keep certain books out of Kentucky schools is moving through the legislature.

Opponents of Senate Bill 5 say it harms open expression and some things should not be banned in schools.

SB 5 is one of several bills aimed at keeping certain things out of public schools and it deals with what the sponsor calls offensive or obscene materials and gives parents more of a say so in what is taught.

Opponents say it’s a book ban.

Parent Miranda Stovall says she supports the bill to give parents more rights to say no to certain types of books and subject matters.

“These books all have extreme adult sexual content. Graphic images. Things that I cannot tell you. It would violate FCC regulations,” said Stovall.

She says the books even have links to pornographic websites.

The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Jason Howell, R-Murray, says Senate Bill 5 could keep such material out of schools.

“The bill’s purpose is to guarantee parents’ involvement to end access to this material harmful to their family’s values and interest,” Sen. Howell said.

Opponents say it’s a slippery slope to ban books.

“Is really losing sight of the overall function of schools to train young people to think for themselves,” said Kate Miller with the ACLU.

The bill would allow parents to file written complaints if something is taught or presented that they don’t agree with and gives principals seven days to respond, along with an appeals process before the school board.

The bill easily passed the Senate Education Committee 11 to 1. Sen. Reggie Thomas, D-Lexington, was the lone no vote.

“I cannot again support any bill that frustrates and limits the education of our children. For that reason, I vote no,” Sen. Thomas said.

The bill passed the full Senate in a 29 to 4 vote.

The bill now goes to the House.