A Professional’s Opinion

Under Kansas Senate Bill 56, K-12 teachers can be prosecuted for classroom materials that are deemed inappropriate or obscene by parents. Currently, teachers are given the right to affirmative defense, meaning that they can justify teaching “sensitive” material if they find the material to have educational merit.

Kansas Senate Bill 56 was passed through the Senate without debate and will now continue to the House where, if approved, it could become law.

Here is what Mark Desetti, Legislative and Political Advocacy Director for the Kansas National Education Association, had to say about the bill. 

“ just sends a chill down the spine of the teaching profession. Here is what happens in this case: An English teacher might look at “The Scarlet Letter” by Nathaniel Hawthorne, which deals with adultery, and say, ‘Maybe I shouldn’t teach that book even though it is a classic work of American literature.’” Or the art teacher might think twice about what works of art they show to students for fear that some parent is going to be upset by it. It only takes one parent to drag a teacher before a grand jury under If I’m teaching something and I’ve got a parent who likes to lodge complaints, I might rethink everything I am teaching. Part of schooling, to me, is having your ideas challenged, being able to learn from others, and defend your ideas. If we take that away, we are just memorizing facts and that is not a good education.The biggest problem is that it puts teachers in jeopardy, it’s embarrassing for them, and it’s unnecessary. It’s possible that it could become law. I am hopeful that it will not.”