Georgia governor expected to sign book banning bill that may have national implications

Senate Bill 226 would require school boards to screen and remove books from libraries after complaints from parents

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Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp is expected to sign legislation that would ban educational literature deemed inappropriate for children. 

As reported by The Current, Kemp’s signature on Senate Bill 226 would require school boards to screen and remove books from libraries following a review of complaints from parents that a particular title is obscene and “lacking in serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value for minors.” 

Under the bill, school principals would have seven business days to complete this process and three additional days to decide if the book should be removed from the school’s library. The banned titles must then be posted on the local school board’s website within 15 business days of the principal’s determination. School boards can appeal the decision within 30 calendar days, according to the report. 

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)

Democrats fear the passing of Senate Bill 226 could have national implications, as school administrators could become overwhelmed with similar book review processes. 

The May primary election will determine whether opponents of Senate Bill 226 will continue to face challenges in stopping books from being removed from library shelves. As reported by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, parents in conservative communities within Cherokee County have been making national headlines recently due to concerns about books exposing children to pornography. 

Book critics have urged the Cherokee County Board of Education to remove certain titles from Cherokee County School District libraries. The Daily Mail reports that one such book is Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi. The story centers on slavery and two African half-sisters born in the mid-18th century who are impacted by the slave trade.

At the Cherokee County School Board meeting on March 17, Michelle Brown read an explicit excerpt from the award-winning novel to illustrate why it should be banned from the student district.

“Excited now, he pushed into her as she squeezed her eyes as tightly as she could,” she read. “Her tongue circled her lips. He pushed harder, his breath heavy and labored. She scratched his back and he cried out. She bit his ear and pulled his hair,” Brown continued. 

She went on to compare Homecoming to the bestselling erotica novel Fifty Shades of Grey.

“If I gave a child one of these books, I’d go to jail,” said Brown when she appeared on Laura Ingraham’s Fox News show. “But they can get it in our school libraries. And it’s not OK.”

The growing complaints from parents in the 42,000-student district have sparked a debate over censorship ahead of the election. 

“The only purpose of these books is to sexualize our children and normalize harmful behaviors,” said Chelle Brown, the parent of elementary school children, according to the report. “We owe it to our children and communities to start speaking up.”

At a recent school board meeting, Sean Jackson, a Democrat running for the board, called frustrated parents like Chelle Brown “misinformed” people who were “harassing” teachers.

“The embarrassment has spread to national news,” he said. “It’s absurd.”

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