Texas lawmakers have passed a bill through both chambers that will help address the issue of “pornographic materials” being in school libraries and classrooms.
HB 4520 adds the sale, distribution or display of harmful material to a minor to the list of offenses that require the State Board for Educator Certification to revoke an educator’s license and report the person to the Do Not Hire Registry.
Any educational personnel found to have provided harmful material to a minor should have their educator license revoked, lose their pension and be placed on the Do Not Hire Registry, according to the sponsor’s statement of intent for the bill.
Texas law defines “harmful material” as material whose dominant theme taken as a whole:
*appeals to the prurient interest of a minor, in sex, nudity, or excretion; and
*is patently offensive to prevailing standards in the adult community as a whole with respect to what is suitable for minors; and
*is utterly without redeeming social value for minors.
“Parents across the state have reported finding pornographic materials in school libraries and classrooms,” the sponsor’s statement of intent said. “HB 4520 amends current law relating to employment and retirement consequences for an educator convicted of or placed on deferred adjudication community supervision for the sale, distribution or display of harmful material to a minor.”
A Texas-based group of activist librarians called FReadom Fighters, opposed the bill stating it will “criminalize librarians.”
The House passed the bill with a near-unanimous bipartisan vote earlier this month.