U.S. Representative Mark Green (R-TN-07) introduced legislation last week that would prohibit all federal funds from being disbursed to schools that violate their state’s laws regarding materials deemed harmful to children.
The No Obscene Teaching in Our Schools Act, also known as the NOT in Our Schools Act, was introduced with fellow Tennessee delegation Representative Diana Harshbarger (R-TN-01), according to a press release from Green’s office.
— Rep. Mark Green (@RepMarkGreen) March 30, 2022
Green wrote what has become HR 7269, because of issues that are occurring in Tennessee, he told The Tennessee Star.
Green said that it was award-winning country music star John Rich who brought evidence of the obscene and pornographic materials to his attention. That prompted Green, as he relayed to The Star, “to go and look at what the Williamson County folks had said.”
In Williamson County, part of Green’s current congressional district, seven parents were muted by the school board during the November 15, 2021, meeting, because the material they read from books found in the school system was considered so offensive.
The muting of the parents, Green said in his statement, “[P]revented them from sharing that their children had been exposed to explicit materials in libraries and classrooms.”
Green also made reference to the testimony of Karen England, president of Parental Rights Council and executive director of Capitol Resource Institute, before the Tennessee House Education Administration Committee on March 16 regarding HB 1944.
England told committee members that during testimony at a previous meeting discussing the same bill, she was shocked when the head of the librarian association said emphatically that there is no porn or obscene material in any school library in Tennessee. After getting permission from the chairman and with the qualifier that she is a modest, Christian modest woman, England went on to read aloud about anal sex and the creation and distribution of child porn from a book she said was found in a Nashville high school library.
The previous month, Rich testified on the same bill before the House Criminal Justice Committee, The Star reported, and has been an outspoken critic on social media regarding the obscene and pornographic materials found in Tennessee’s K-12 schools.
Testifying at the Tennessee House of Reps legislative committee today was quite a deal. Some supported, some dissented, but Going toe to toe with adversaries is necessary in these times. We must bring the fight to them. We The People are the firewall between tyranny and freedom pic.twitter.com/9ixUHtfENf
— John Rich (@johnrich) February 24, 2022
Green’s legislation prohibits federal funding from being provided to any elementary or secondary school that is in violation of the state’s laws relative to materials that are harmful to minors.
The state’s education department would have the option of returning the federal funds that were intended for the school that is in violation or, at the request of the parents of the eligible children, the state education department would be able to create a 529 education savings plan account program to cover qualified education expenses.
Green told The Star that he sees this, as a “state’s rights guy” both “an issue of decency and an issue of state’s rights.”
He described his legislation to The Star as “putting the power back with the states to define criminal pornography and let’s the states decide on school monies for those school systems that want to violate their own state laws.”
In the written statement on the legislation, Green said, “This bill protects our children from extremely offensive material being discovered across the United States, including the State of Tennessee, while giving the power back to the states to redistribute federal dollars away from schools breaking state laws. Ensuring families can decide what is best for their children while compelling states to enforce their own laws is absolutely critical. I’m proud to have Rep. Harshbarger join me in introducing this important legislation.”
“This bill puts our children first by ensuring no federal funds go to schools that neglect their duty to educate and protect our children from explicit materials. If schools break the law, parents should have flexibility with those dollars. By providing the option to return funding or divert funding to a 529 plan, my legislation is a crucial step in ensuring our children’s safety doesn’t take a backseat.”
Meanwhile, Harshbarger said, “The Federal Government should not be rewarding schools that violate the laws of their state. I’m proud to cosponsor a bill that enhances the power of the States in determining appropriate curriculum and protects Tennessee children from dangerous rhetoric that is creating divisions in our society.”
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Laura Baigert is a senior reporter at The Star News Network, where she covers stories for The Tennessee Star and The Georgia Star News.