By Laura Baigert
GALLATIN, Tennessee – According to the Tennessee Star, Sumner County’s Board of Commissioners passed a resolution Monday night that calls out Sumner County Schools (SCS) for having books in the system’s libraries that contain pornographic material and divisive concepts, in apparent violation of two different sections of Tennessee state law.
After about 90 minutes of debate and hearing from SCS Chief Academic Officer Scott Langford, the measure passed with a vote of 15 yes, five no, and one abstention after an earlier debate that resulted in adding the item to the agenda.
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Langford, the second in command at SCS who was an eight-year member of the county commission and served as its chairman for seven of his eight years in office, attended the commission meeting and came forward to answer questions from the commission.
Langford said it should be him when it came to a specific part of the resolution that named personnel within SCS concerning dealing with obscene and provocative materials in the schools.
“Honestly, if you want to name who’s responsible for library brooks, it’s primarily me. And of course, if you want to include [SCS Director] Dr. Phillips,” admitted Langford.
Langford said SCS wasn’t violating the law, because they followed their process, and the books were removed. Review teams at the schools reviewed the book and Langford said, “They removed it, deeming that it was obscene.”
Retired Army Lt. Colonel and Education Committee Chairman Bob Brown (R-District 17), dressed in his uniform in honor of Veterans’ Day, brought the resolution forward by making a motion to add the proposed measure to the agenda. Brown read the entire resolution aloud at the request of Commissioner Jerry Becker (R-District 21) because they had not received the document in advance of the meeting.Brown’s proposal was prompted by the October 18 meeting of the Sumner County School Board, during which school board members voted against putting the book Lawn Boy by Jonathan Evison on the agenda, even after five of its sexually-graphic passages were read out loud to the board and the standing-room-only crowd by newly-elected school board member Steven King (R-District 5).
The book was found in library databases to be at the new Liberty Creek High School, Gallatin High School and Hendersonville High School. The day after the meeting, King reported on Facebook that the book no longer showed up at Liberty Creek. At Hendersonville High School the book was under review and at Gallatin High School, the book was checked out and due to be returned on November 2.
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