Report: “Behind Closed Doors, Indiana Lawmakers Finalize Bill to Ban Books From School Libraries”
The Indiana legislature approved a controversial bill Thursday that centers on what books students should and should not have access to in school. The final version of the legislation was largely decided behind closed doors.
Under House Bill 1447, school districts and charter schools are required to publicly post their library catalogs and establish a procedure to allow parents and community members to file challenges to books they believe to be inappropriate. The bill also bars public school employees from using a book’s educational value as a legal defense against charges they distributed material that is harmful to minors.
The bill now heads to Gov. Eric Holcomb.
Additional Coverage From the AP:
The bill’s language was derived from a Senate proposal that passed in February and had come up in various other bills this session. It was added Thursday to a House bill related to student assessments and received quick approval from both chambers. The Senate’s 39-10 approval sent it to Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb.Republican state Rep. Becky Cash insisted the bill “protects the schools.”
“I hope that as this plays out, people will realize that,” she told The Associated Press.
Democratic Rep. Renee Pack spoke to lawmakers about her daughter, Leah Johnson, whose book “You Should See Me In A Crown” was declared “obscene” by the Oklahoma attorney general’s office. The book is about a Black girl who falls for her competition for prom queen.
Pack said that when she asked her daughter why she wrote such books, her daughter’s response was that “it was horrible and confusing, growing up and not seeing me and who I was represented in literature. So this is my way of letting young people know you are not alone, no matter what anybody tells you.”
About Gary Price
Gary Price (email@example.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. He earned his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com.