AUGUSTA – Rep. Amy Arata of New Gloucester is looking to ban so-called “obscene books” with a bill that would remove the exception in state law that allows public schools to use obscene material for educational purposes.
Arata said she found her teenage son reading a book with graphic language describing a sexual encounter and a rape for his high school advanced English class. The book was “Kafka on the Shore” by Haruki Murakami, a Japanese author.
Arata said such material is inappropriate for public school students.
“It’s really sending the wrong message to kids about what’s appropriate,” Arata said. “I opened up to a page that made me go, ‘Wow, this isn’t normal.'”
Initial hearings for the bill took place on Monday.
While both sides made strong arguments in the hearing for the bill, people in support of the bill stated that they did not believe that there needed to be any sexual or obscene content in any books in the Maine public schools.
Opponents said that the literary value of some of the classics outweigh the negatives that some of the obscene content may bring.
The voting on the bill to confirm or deny it is still pending.