Wisconsin lawmaker from the city where a teacher was suspended for playing Miley Cyrus' 'Rainbowland' now wants to make it so that teachers can be sued for 'obscene' books
- Wisconsin lawmakers introduced a bill that would allow parents to sue teachers over "obscene" books.
- Republican state Rep. Scott Allen, who co-sponsored the bill, is from Waukesha, Wisconsin.
A Wisconsin legislature representing the city where a teacher was suspended for playing a Miley Cyrus and Dolly Parton song about acceptance has introduced a bill that would let parents sue teachers for "obscene" books.
On May 9, state Rep. Scott Allen and state Senator André Jacque proposed two bills that "address the matter of obscene materials in schools," according to a news release from Allen's office.
The first bill recommends that the state strip school employees and teachers of their protections against prosecution for "displaying obscene material," the release says. The other bill would prohibit the use of public funds to purchase "obscene material."
Republicans throughout the country have been pushing for books and other material they deem "inappropriate" to be removed from schools over the past few years through legislation, typically targeting books that deal with issues of race or LGBTQ themes.
In April, the Waukesha School District suspended Melissa Tempel after she included "Rainbowland," as part of a planned performance with her first-grade class.
"And if I have to lose my job, then at least I'll be able to sleep at night knowing that I stuck up for kids," Tempel previously told Insider.
Sarah Schindler, whose daughter was in Tempel's class, said her daughter used to be happy to share what she learned at school, but now she doesn't have the same enthusiasm with Tempel gone, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported.
According to Allen's news release, his proposed bills would cover obscene material, which Wisconsin law defines as a work that "lacks serious literary, artistic, political, educational or scientific value, if taken as a whole."
Allen said he'd received a complaint in his district about a book where "characters describe how to perform oral sex," which "could" be considered obscene.
"Some might panic that there will be multiple lawsuits brought against schools, but current Wisconsin State Statute 944.21 (7) requires both a district attorney and the attorney general to sign off before a civil or criminal proceeding could commence," the news release says.
In Idaho, the state legislature passed a law earlier this year that would have stripped public libraries of their civil protections against laws that prohibit the distribution of "harmful" material to minors.
Idaho Gov. Brad Little, a Republican, vetoed the bill on April 5.
In a letter to lawmakers, Little said the legislation made "sweeping, blanket assumptions" and would force "one interpretation" onto all patrons of the library, The Spokesman-Review reported.
The bills in Wisconsin would have to pass in the state legislature and get the governor's signature in order to become law. Democratic Gov. Tony Evers would likely veto them if they reached his desk.
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