Stalled: Kansas Bid to Prosecute Teachers Who Show Students ‘Harmful Material’

By Catherine Gewertz — March 05, 2014 1 min read
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State senators in Kansas were considering a measure that would make it easier to prosecute teachers, librarians, or school principals for exposing students to offensive materials. And then they weren’t.

According to the Wichita Eagle, the judiciary committee of the Kansas state Senate approved Senate Bill 401 last week. It would facilitate the filing of criminal charges against school personnel who allow children to see certain materials deemed “offensive.”

When a buzz of the not-so-good kind started to spread about the measure, the state Senate’s president yanked it off the chamber’s calendar and sent it back to committee.

That prompted a sigh of relief from the Eagle‘s editorial board, which recommended that the bill “should die” in committee so it wouldn’t “generate more negative national news and make Kansas the butt of more jokes.”

The bill forbids any one with “custody, control or supervision of any commercial or public establishment” from “knowingly, recklessly” displaying materials or performances that are “harmful to minors.”

The bill was sparked by the concern of a Kansas City-area parent whose daughter snapped a picture of a sex-education poster on the door of her a classroom in her middle school that listed various ways couples can express affection.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Curriculum Matters blog.