I am reaching out in concern of materials being allowed in our public school libraries. We have found several books with in the district with out even really digging that are obscene and pornographic. I have no doubt there are many others. A group of parents, including myself, read from these books on 1/24/22 during public participation at a school board meeting. This portion of the video was redacted due to it violated You Tube’s Obscene Policy and they were concerned about children hearing it yet they left the books in the schools for children to read.
We have yet to see any action by our BOT’s and Dr. Ross on removing these books. Superintendent Molly Spearman, in her response to our BOT Rebecca Hines, stated “In a November 9, 2021 memorandum, I again requested “each district to review their own purchased texts including those used in the classrooms, libraries, and media centers to ensure they are age and content appropriate.” ( I will attach the memo). Additionally Dr. Ross sent a website teachingbooks.net that is a state approved selection aide that lists books approved by the SC Dept of Ed which is a cause of concern as well. I believe this state agency should also be investigated for approving books that break state and federal law.
As I have mentioned in my conversations with some of you that this type of material is not protected by the First Amendment and violates SC State Law 16-15-305 https://www.scstatehouse.gov/code/t16c015.php and Federal Law https://www.justice.gov/criminal-ceos/citizens-guide-us-federal-law-obscenity. Our district has POLICY KEC that is a grievance procedure for parents and citizens and would go before a review committee. There are several problems with this. First, why do parents and citizens have to file a complaint for materials that clearly break the law? Second, parents are fearful of retaliation or being shamed for advocating against this as they were shamed publicly by BOT’s (called parents who read the books bullies on a board members facebook page that they use to recap meetings). Third, the review committees are unbalanced consisting of more district employees then parents/citizens and likely biased. Fourth, these unelected employee’s do not answer to parents, they answer to who appointed or hired them. Concluding that this is a bad policy and since when does school board policy (not law) supersede state and federal law. Aren’t we interested in upholding the law?
This is happening all over the country and why aren’t our state officials getting ahead of this and upholding the law which all took an oath to do. This is criminal and with criminal penalties. We have also located an AG opinion from Charles Moloney Condon from March 1996 that confirms much of what we are stating ( attaching opinion). Chip Huggins was with the Judiciary Committee earlier today in regards to this opinion. The Judiciary Committee confirmed we do not have exemptions to our obscenity laws. It is the Judiciary Committee’s opinion that if it meets the definition of “obscene” it is against the law for the schools to provide this material to minor children. Also that the opinion of AG Condon would still be accurate today.
I am requesting that Governor McMaster direct the Attorney General and Chief Mark Keel of SLED to open an investigation in the dissemination of Obscene and Pornographic materials in Lexington Richland 5 and SC Department of Education. What is being allowed in our public schools is completely unacceptable. My family has been personally been affected as I did not feel the SC Public Education system has served my daughter the last couple of years and we withdrew her in August of last year. I would like the opportunity to send her back once there has been some trust restored since we pay for it.
We are asking for some help to protect our children from others who wish to expose them to perverse and obscene materials and attempt to rob them of their innocence. Below you will see a list of the books and I will provide some of the text.