NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — A bill that would make it unlawful for a publisher to knowingly sell obscene material to public schools in Tennessee is heading to Governor Bill Lee’s desk.
This school year, two books have been removed from high school library shelves in Wilson County and The Perks of Being a Wallflower was moved to the mature reading list—which means parents would need to give their child permission to check it out.
In January, Mt. Juliet House Rep. Susan Lynn sent a letter to the Wilson County School Board. She said the school board was in violation of the state obscenity law by not removing the book.
Lynn explained the bill she is sponsoring this legislative session is going after publishers or distributors that are selling the books to the schools.
The bill passed in both the Senate and the House.
“This bill should help librarians, our district attorneys make sure that the books that are sent to our schools are age-appropriate,” said Lynn.
“I think that there are children that are watching this body and are saying ‘protect our lives, ban assault rifles’ and you are responding by banning books. We can do better than this,” said Rep. Justin Jones (D—Nashville).
A violation of the law would be considered a class E felony. A violator, which in this case would be a publisher or distributor, could be fined between $10,000 and $100,000.