Oklahoma attorney general now says he’s not investigating school library books for alleged obscenity

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) — Oklahoma Attorney General John O’Connor said he is not investigating whether 51 school library books contain obscenities that violate state law, changing cap a day after his office announced it would review the books.

The Oklahoma attorney general’s office confirmed Wednesday that 51 school library books, including several classic works of literature, would be reviewed to determine if they violated the state’s obscenity law. O’Connor staff said they were conducting the review after receiving complaints about the books.

“The books in question are from all counties and are being reviewed to determine if they violate the state’s obscenity law. We do not have a timeline for when the review will be completed,” a spokesman for the attorney general’s office said in a statement to KFOR on Wednesday.

The list included classic books, including Of mice and Men, lord of the flies and I know why the caged bird sings.

However, O’Connor released a statement on Thursday saying his office was not investigating the books. The full statement is as follows:

“I have received complaints from several parents about books in public school libraries that parents find obscene. I will always listen to complaints from Oklahomans. I recommended that they present their objections to the school boards. I also recommended that they discuss with the legislature how Oklahoma law defines “obscenity.”

Our office is not investigating this at this time. I understand that a bill has been introduced in this new session to address the concerns of these parents.

I respect the role and responsibility of parents in the education and social development of their children and I urge school boards to consider the complaints of these parents and to work with them regarding the material available in school libraries. .

Attorney General John O’Connor

KFOR has asked the GA office for clarification on what action O’Connor will take regarding the books. Rachel Roberts, director of communications, said she would assess and monitor the situation. His statement to KFOR is as follows:

“Earlier this week, our office said concerned parents contacted our office about several textbooks they believe violated state obscenity laws and we said we would look into the matter. Today’s comment was simply to say that the Legislature and local school boards also have an important and appropriate role to play in addressing parents’ concerns We continue to assess and monitor the situation and if it appears laws have been broken, my office will step in and protect Oklahomans.

The Frontier first reported O’Connor’s plan to review the books.

The news was met with criticism from educators.

“When you start burning books and banning books, it can be a problem for our society and for our children,” Nancy Yaffe, a reading and English teacher for Moore Public Schools, told KFOR on Wednesday. .

Cherity Pennington, president of the Oklahoma Library Association, said her office is extremely careful when selecting books for libraries.

“We are very, very careful about what we put in our libraries,” said Cherity Pennington, president of the Oklahoma Library Association. “I would like our Attorney General O’Connor to contact the Oklahoma Library Association to discuss his concerns with us.”

State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister, who is running for governor, blasted the previously scheduled review, saying local school boards have the authority to review library books. She released the following statement on Wednesday:

“Parents should have a say in what books their children have access to. Local school boards are required to have a process in place to review books in school libraries, and state rules clearly place this responsibility in the hands of local school boards. Before AG O’Connor starts arresting teachers and librarians, we hope he will share the complaints he has received over the past year with the OSDE.

Joy Hofmeister, State Superintendent

Here is the full list of books that needed to be reviewed:

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