New, wide-ranging education law going into effect

BRITT — The new state law that backers say is designed to protect parental rights goes into effect tomorrow (Saturday). It bans instruction about gender identity or sexual orientation in kindergarten through sixth grade classes. It also requires books that describe or depict sex acts be removed from school libraries.

West Hancock Community School District Superintendent Wayne Kronemann says a typical school library has hundreds of books.   “We are trying to look for some lists that are available of books that maybe get questioned by people around the United States to get taken out of libraries or schools,” he says.

Starting in January, teachers or school superintendents will face discipline from the Board of Educational Examiners if books that include sexually explicit content are provided to students.   “I don’t think we’ll be in any trouble there because we’re a pretty conservative community like most communities around here,” he says, “but it still takes time to make sure.”

The law also requires schools to put a list of all its library books online, along with instructions for how to request that a book be removed. The names of those who file removal requests are to be kept confidential.

Democrats in the legislature opposed the law, arguing books help students understand themselves and the world around them and the new policy means books with educational and literary value will be removed from libraries.