Oklahoma lawmaker introduces book-banning bill with $10,000-a-day penalty

Oklahoma lawmaker introduces book-banning bill with $10,000-a-day penalty

A proposed Oklahoma state law would allow parents to seek up to $10,000 for each day a book is kept in their child’s school library after it was nominated for removal.

The proposed law, Senate Bill [SB] 1142, was introduced to the state legislature on December 16 and would go into effect during the 2022-2023 academic year if passed. It would affect both public school districts and public charter schools throughout the state.

SB 1142 would allow parents who believed their child’s school was carrying a book in violation of the law to “submit a written request to the school district superintendent or charter school administrator to remove the book.”

Republican state Sen. Rob Standridge on Dec. 16 announced he had filed two bills for the 2022 legislative session, which begins in February, addressing “indoctrination in Oklahoma schools.”

“Our education system is not the place to teach moral lessons that should instead be left up to parents and families. Unfortunately, however, more and more schools are trying to indoctrinate students by exposing them to gender, sexual and racial identity curriculums and courses. My bills will ensure these types of lessons stay at home and out of the classroom,” Standridge said in a statement.

If parents believe a book violates the bill, they can demand school officials remove it within 30 days. If the book is not removed during this time, the school employee tasked with getting rid of it will be terminated, subject to due process, and prohibited from working at another school for at least two years

Parents may then seek “monetary damages,” according to the bill, including a minimum of $10,000 for each day the challenged book is not removed.

Under Standridge’s second bill, public universities in Oklahoma beginning next year would be prohibited from requiring students to enroll in courses “addressing any form of gender, sexual, or racial diversity, equality, or inclusion curriculum,” which fall outside course requirements for their major.

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