The Arizona Senate approved a bill Monday that allows parents to object to books and other content in their children’s schools.
Senate Bill 1700 would direct school districts to create plans to promote parental involvement. Accordingly, the bill allows parents to submit books to the state’s Department of Education for review for objectionable material, especially material that promotes controversial gender ideology.
The parent must find “the book to be lewd or sexual in nature, to promote gender fluidity or gender pronouns or to groom children into normalizing pedophilia” in order for it to be reviewed, says the text of the bill.
“Just over the last few years, it’s been a lot of graphic, almost cartoon versions of sexual acts,” Sen. Justine Wadsack of Tucson said about the need for the bill, according to local 13 KOLD News.
“It’s gotten to the point where K-12 parents are not interested in having these types of books, with this level of graphics introduced to their children,” added Wadsack.
Progressives have continued to characterize attempts like this to make curriculum age-appropriate as book banning or censorship. But supporters of restrictions point out parents are still able to acquire the books for their children, if they wish.
“This puts the power back into the hands of the parent, it’s not a book banning bill,” Wadsack said. “We’re not setting books on fire, but what it does is it gives the parents some recourse, some ability to say, hey, I don’t approve of this book.
“I think it’s very clear as to what this bill is really for, and we need to stop the other narrative that is trying to beat this down. We are not book banning, we are trying to make sure that our children are learning what is appropriate.”
The bill now moves to the House for consideration, where the GOP holds a narrow majority 31-29.
But even if it were to pass in the House, the measure is expected to be vetoed by Arizona’s Democrat governor, Katie Hobbs.