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Oklahoma bill proposal allows parents to remove sexual material from public school libraries

SB1142, a new bill proposed in the state of Oklahoma, would give parents of children in the state's public schools the power to request books be pulled from the shelves of school libraries.

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SB1142, a new bill proposed in the state of Oklahoma, would give parents of children in the state's public schools the power to request that books containing sexual material or inappropriate content be pulled from the shelves of school libraries.

The bill in question would allow for parents and grandparents to formally register books with sexually inappropriate content and have the book removed within 30 days of the complaint. Fines will be up to $10,000 per day per incident in the case of these books not being removed.

According to the McAlester News-Capital, State Sen. Rob Standridge (R), the man who wrote the bill in question, stated during an interview:

"I just think that those are overly sexualized. I think parents and grandparents, guardians should have a say on whether their kids are exposed to those books. If they [other children's parents] want them, they can take them [their children] to their local library."

Some of the books he said he has concerns about include the "A Quick and Easy Guide to They/Them Pronouns," "Trans Teen Survival Guide," "Quick and Easy Guide to Queer and Trans Identities," and "The Art of Drag."

The law is worded such that even one formal complaint would require a book to be removed, for content that is inappropriate for whatever reason, sexual or not.

The News-Capital goes on to report that Sen. Standridge is "not worried that schools would have to also remove the Bible, for example, given that the Old Testament's 'Song of Songs' contains graphic sexual depictions, because he contends that schools don’t have Bibles on library shelves."

"Most likely these things will end up in court," Standridge continued.

"My guess is the schools won't comply and the parents will have to seek injunctive relief. That will be up to the trier of fact. They may well disagree with the parent and say reasonable parents would want their children to be exposed to transgender, queer and other sexually-related books. I would doubt that," he added.

Morgan Allen, the director of Oklahomans for Equality, a LGBTQ activist and an opponent of the bill, said in turn, "These books are there to give our kids the language that they need to express how they are already feeling, and that's it."

"These books are not there for anything else other than to affirm and show the kids their love for who they are, and that there are other people out there like them, that they are not alone," Allen continued.

"And if we take those books away from their libraries, then we're saying that their schools and the people who are in those schools don't see them for who they are, and that they are alone in those schools. And they're not alone," she said.

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