NORMAN, Okla. (KFOR) – The plot continues to thicken in the Norman banned book saga. Now, the owner of Green Feather Book Company, Heather Hall, has added herself to the story.
“It’s a QR code to a public library. It’s really important to point out [that] it’s not a QR code to porn, despite what some folks would like to say,” said Hall.
This comes after a Norman High School parent complained to the district last month about a teacher who was giving students a QR code to a Brooklyn Public Library, so they could access books banned in some schools due to controversial content.
The teacher told KFOR she was trying to provide her students with an “inclusive” learning environment. While NPS investigated the claims, the teacher was removed from the classroom and later resigned.
On Friday, a group of Republican lawmakers in the Oklahoma House of Representatives called for an investigation into the teacher to see whether she violated state law. If she did, the lawmakers want her to lose her license.
“We were really upset that the idea of providing a QR code to students might prompt administrative action against one of our teachers. So, we came together,” said Hall.
That’s why she, and a few other moms of Norman students, are making sure kids have the ability to read all books through free t-shirts and pins with the QR code on it. The shirts and pins can be picked up at the bookstore.
“The idea that the students have the tools that they need to share information is really important,” said Hall. “In the Norman that I grew up in, the Norman that sees a teacher quit rather than be put on administrative leave because of helping kids get a library card, is not the norm.”
The stand she is taking in this debate has gotten mixed reviews.
“I came in to express my support to this business because they’re standing up for something that I think is very important,” said Michael Dean, a Norman resident.
But it appears not everyone feels the same way.
“I had a person online ask me if I was a purveyor of porn,” said Hall.
Senator Rob Standridge, R-Norman, who co-authored HB 1775, weighed in with the following statement:
“The teacher that gave out the QR code did not violate 1775 to my knowledge but knowingly gave pornographic material to children she was entrusted with.
As for the bookstore, unlike a teacher entrusted with children who has according to the Supreme Court and other courts some restrictions on their freedom of expression with regards to children as anyone could understand and parents expect, the bookstore is in the public square and enjoys full protections for their expression. Of course, even a bookstore could get in trouble for intentionally giving obscene material to children.
Throughout our history, including within our highest courts (ie: tinker, barnette, etc…) the first amendment cannot be used by a state actor (such as a teacher) to push religious beliefs, political beliefs, and certainly not pornography on children entrusted to their care. The First Amendment has limitations most especially when it comes to children.”
Hall said there’s been so much interest in the t-shirts that they have actually run out. She plans to be restocked by Monday.