The State Board of Education is slated Wednesday to consider approving a proposed rule that would require school-library employees to complete training sessions that are part of a new law aimed at increasing scrutiny of library books and instructional materials.
Under the law (HB 1467), school librarians and media specialists will need to complete the online training each year. The training includes guidance on criteria for selecting instructional materials, library books and reading lists.
One of the guidelines would require avoiding “unsolicited theories that may lead to student indoctrination.”
Criteria specific to library books include that books be free of pornography and material considered harmful to minors under state law.
The training information would make clear that descriptions or representations of nudity, sexual conduct or “sexual excitement” in books would have to meet various criteria to be considered harmful to minors.
“Taken as a whole the material is without serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value for minors,” one of the criteria reads.
The state board on Wednesday also will consider approving a rule that would remove “COVID-19 harassment” as a reason that families can seek Hope Scholarship vouchers.
The Hope Scholarship program is designed to allow students who have been bullied, harassed or assaulted at school to receive private-school vouchers or transfer to other public schools. The state board in August 2021 approved an emergency rule that also allowed eligibility based on students being subject to schools’ coronavirus mitigation measures.
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