The State Board of Education is set to act on a new regulation that forbids explicit content on Wednesday by approving new guidelines that school libraries must adhere to when purchasing books.
Publishers are required under the Restricting Explicit and Adult-Designated Educational Resources Act (READER Act) to assign a “rating” to every book they sell to libraries. In June, Gov. Abbott gave it his signature.
During the regular legislative session, Plano Republican representative Jared Patterson, the bill’s author, told lawmakers, “This bill does one thing and one thing only—restricts explicit books from unaccompanied minors in Texas public schools—without attaching any religious, political, or cultural belief.”
The measure mandates that new guidelines be approved by the State Board for school districts to adhere to when creating their library collections. The purchasing of “harmful,” “sexually explicit,” and “vulgar” materials is forbidden under these guidelines.
A policy that “recognizes that parents are the primary decision-makers regarding a student’s access to library material” must also be adopted by districts.
The bill, in response to concerns that it would amount to political or religious censorship, forbids material removal from schools on the basis of “the ideas contained in the material” or the “personal background of the author… or characters.”
As per the law, book sellers are not allowed to sell to schools unless they provide ratings for sexually explicit content. It is forbidden for students to check out explicit-rated books without a parent or guardian’s signed permission.
During its meeting on Wednesday, the State Board of Education is scheduled to approve the revised standards. They started at 9:00 a.m. After the Board acts on the READER Act, this coverage will be updated.
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