Missouri law banning “sexually explicit material” in schools set to go in effect

Published: Aug. 18, 2022 at 6:34 PM CDT
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - A Missouri law outlawing school officials from providing sexually explicit material to students is set to go in effect at the end of the month.

The law goes into effect August 28. School officials found guilty of providing sexually explicit materials to students can face up to a year in prison and or a $2,000 fine.

The statute is an amendment that’s part of Senate Bill 775, created by Missouri senator Rick Brattin.

The law describes sexually explicit material as depictions of sex acts or genitalia. The exception is artistic and scientific significance.

“This statute is very vague,” St. Louis prosecuting attorney Wesley Bell told News 4. “We’re not looking to prosecute nonviolent and low-level offenses. Now with that said, we do understand if something is legitimately pornographic or what have you, we understand students and kids shouldn’t have access to that and that’s something we would look at obviously. I think many of these laws are the genesis of them are political issues.”

Wentzville school district parent Lindi Williford sent the following statement to News 4: “It’s not book banning. The school districts already have policies in place preventing such age-inappropriate materials, but they chose to not follow their own policies”

“This is really a smokescreen,” said Kris Kleindienst, owner of Left Bank Books in the Central West End in St. Louis. “What I would say to these parents is that they should read the books first. It’s clear that there’s some concern here the librarians are very confused about what they should be doing. They are calling sexually explicit and pornography, but what they’re really talking about is books by or about gay people mentioning anything to do with gender.”

Kleindienst said her bookstores supplies banned books and ones under threat in schools.

New 4 reached out to Senator Brattin and is awaiting comment.