Public School Advocates Raise Objections to Book Banning Bill

Advocate Andy

Students, parents call on Gov. Lee to veto legislation that would ban books from school libraries

The Tennessee General Assembly passed a revised version of legislation regulating what books can appear in school libraries. The final version, now on its way to Gov. Bill Lee's desk, would give the Tennessee Textbook Commission final authority over any request by a parent to remove a book from a school library. If the Commission found that a book should be removed in one district, all other districts would have to remove that book from libraries in their schools.

Parents and students held a press conference on Wednesday morning to protest the bill and issued comments immediately following passage of the final version.

"School libraries are nurturing places where kids get the chance to be themselves, discover new worlds, see themselves reflected in books, and learn about other types of people,” said Brentwood parent and New York Times bestselling author of books on sports and social justice for teens and adults, Andrew Maraniss. “This bill is a wide-scale book ban by another name and is incredibly dangerous. It’s connected to Republican attacks on voting rights, public education, Black and LGBTQ people, and the truth itself. This attack on school libraries is really an attack on all of us, and an attack on freedom and democracy."

"This bill that I spoke out against yesterday and is headed to Governor Lee's desk to become law, will allow my education to be limited by a committee of only twelve people with almost no diversity in race, political party, or religion," said Lindsay Hornick, Williamson County High School student. "They will have the final say on whether a book is appropriate for every child in Tennessee public schools. This bill makes me question: 'how far does inappropriate go?' How far will parents, faculty, and the school board go with censorship? Soon enough, we won't be able to read anything except 'Goodnight Moon.' Books that expose the greatest tragedies of our history will be banned, and with them, the truth."

The advocates are calling on Gov. Lee to veto the legislation.

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Andy Spears is a middle Tennessee writer and policy advocate. He reports on news around public policy issues - education, health care, consumer protection, and more.

Nashville, TN

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