The General Assembly debates controversial books
Lawmakers in Richmond are debating what kind of books should be allowed in public school libraries.
Back in 2016, the Senate chamber was cleared of teenage assistants when Senator Tom Garrett did a dramatic reading of explicit passages from Toni Morrisson’s novel "The Bluest Eye."
READ MORE: State lawmakers are debating several bills related to public school libraries
Now, House Republicans are taking a page out of Garrett's book, and Delegate Tim Anderson had the teenagers removed from the chamber so he could read from explicit passages from books that he thinks are inappropriate.
"There's a permanent record in the House of Delegates now, a video record of what is actually in our children's school libraries," Anderson said. "And you can take that, and you can bring that to your school boards. You can take that, and you can present it to your members."
Anderson introduced a bill that would force school librarians to put together lists of books with explicit material, and that bill has already passed the House of Delegates and is now under consideration in the Senate.
Delegate Schuyler Van Valkenburg says Virginia should not be like Florida and other states that try to ban books.
"We saw a county that just banned 127 elementary books, one of which is about Hank Aaron. Another of which is about Rosa Parks," Van Valkenburg says. "And so, we have a system in place that works, and the moral outrage here that is being used to weaponize this process as a way of, let's be clear, a way of banning books."
Anderson says he's confident that his bill will be defeated in the Senate, but he says it was worth it because now there's a permanent record of his spoken word performance on the House floor.
This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.