‘Age-appropr⁠i⁠a⁠t⁠e’ book proposal l⁠i⁠kely on hold un⁠t⁠⁠i⁠l 2025

April 14, 2024

Bryce Fiedler

CALN Founding Member & CALN Board of Directors Secretary

Assorted Books on Book Shelves

A proposal to create uniform definitions for age-appropriate content when it comes to books in South Carolina schools is seemingly on hold for the year.  

Announced last year and adopted by the State Board of Education in February, the pending rule would require books in K-12 classrooms and libraries to be “age and developmentally appropriate” and would prohibit materials that contain depictions of “sexual conduct” as defined by state law. These standards would apply statewide as part of an effort to provide consistency for educators, parents and students.  

I first covered the proposal last fall, explaining how it would let parents challenge books they believe fail to meet these standards. 

“Upon receiving a challenge,” I wrote, “a school board would have 60 days [since changed to 90 days] to hold a public hearing so that it may review the complaint, receive input from the community, and decide whether to keep, remove, or restrict (with parental consent) the book or material in question.” 

It would also give the State Board of Education the final say on challenged books, which parents could reach through an appeals process.  

However, the rule needs approval by the state Legislature before it can take effect. The House Regulations Committee, which met Apr. 10 for consideration, says more discussion and input is needed before things move forward.  

Rebecca Blackburn Hines, chairwoman of the Lexington-Richland Five school board, recently spoke in favor of the proposal, telling lawmakers, “I think that it’s very important that we have a simple process to deal with books across all districts,” according to the SC Daily Gazette. 

WLTX (News19) reports that at least seven states—Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, and North Carolina—have adopted similar policies.  

Just four weeks remain in South Carolina’s regular legislative session, likely closing the window on the proposed change for the year. However, lawmakers could resume work when they return next January.