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Law signed by Gov. Kemp limits who can file complaints on school library books

The process of banning a book in a school library will change now that Governor Brian Kemp signed SB226 into law.

ATLANTA — Gov. Brian Kemp signed Senate Bill 226 into law on Thursday, answering the question of how schools deal with someone objecting to a book or material in the school library.

Among other things, SB 226 would limit the ability of filing complaints to parents or legal guardians of children.

This part of the law brings a change to current policy in Coweta County.

“We’ve seen folks, again, fairly so, being part of the political process, coming to board meetings and objecting to books,” said Dean Jackson, the public information officer for the Coweta County school system. “And while that's fine, it has to be noted, these people are not our parents."

In the past year, the American Library Association said it tracked nearly 1,600 book challenges or removals nationwide, the most since it started tracking more than 20 years ago.

Jackson said the school board is currently facing objections to six titles over the past several months. 

Prior to SB 226 becoming law, anyone in Coweta County could make a complaint. Under policy, the complaint goes to the media committee made up of parents and teachers for review.

"In my view, [lawmakers are] taking these, really heated sometimes, debates that are going on all over our country. They're actually tackling it, and they're coming down on the side of students and teachers and parents. That's not a bad place to be," Jackson added.

He said he expects Coweta County’s policy to change in line with the new ruling, adding that school systems will work with the Georgia Department of Education and the Georgia School Board Association to make sure all aspects of the law are implemented correctly. 

Jackson also said he expects the new changes to be complete by July or August.

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