The teacher says that the students cannot read their class books

A Tennessee teacher on TikTok claims that her students can’t read any of the books in her class library until they’re “age-appropriate,” which is quite a long process.

Teacher Sydney (@sydneyrawls) captured the viral video from her classroom on a Saturday. She says that like most teachers, she doesn’t like going to work on weekends, but she felt compelled to do so because of her school’s audit process. She does not say in the video which school she works at.

@sydneyrawls Tennessee Teachers can relate 😤 #fyp #teachers #teachersoftiktok #backtoschool #tennesseeteacher #departmentofeducation #teacherinspo #teachermotivation #letusteach #teachersdontgetpaidenough #teacherlife #teacherworkingafterhours #teachersbelike #teacherlifebelike #teacherproblems #educationtiktok #childrensliteracy #kidswanttoread #teachersontiktok #teachertok #teacherproblems # Tennessee ♬ Original sound – Sydney

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee recently signed legislation requiring school libraries to screen their materials for “age appropriateness,” according to Chalkbeat Tennessee. An additional bill could hit school librarians with criminal penalties for books some might call obscene.

“If a teacher wants their students to read one of the books in the teacher’s school or classroom, the teacher must catalog each individual book,” Sydney explains on TikTok, explaining the impact of the law.

She explains that teachers need to catalog the title and author of every book in their classroom — even if they have hundreds of books. After a teacher catalogs their books, they must send the list to their school librarian, who has a list of “approved” books. Sydney says she doesn’t know what this list is based on.

Once the school librarian has determined which books in a teacher’s catalog are approved, teachers are required to remove the “unapproved” books from their classrooms. If a teacher has books that a librarian is unsure about, they send those books to a higher admin. This person then decides whether these books are acceptable to the students.

After the administrator determines the approved and unapproved books, teachers must again remove any additional unapproved books. Then the teacher must post the final list of approved books from the librarian and administrator online for parents to see. Parents can comment on any books they feel are inappropriate, Sydney says.

After that, the children can finally start reading the books.

Sydney explains that her school district has told her and other teachers not to catalog their books, especially on weekends. However, she explains that many of her students want to read books and regularly ask her if they can read from her class library.

“The kids in here are like, ‘Can I get a book and read it?’ and I have to say, ‘No, you can’t,'” Sydney says in the video. “Because I haven’t had a chance to go through them all, catalog them all, and write them all down to send to someone who will tell them whether or not they can read the books in my class library.”

While her video has received over 1.4 million views, Sydney has disabled comments on the video as of Monday. The Daily Dot contacted her via TikTok comment on another video as other means of contact were unavailable.

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*Initial Release: Aug 15, 2022 5:21pm CDT

Cecilia Lenzen

Cecilia Lenzen is a journalism student at the University of Texas at Arlington and a freelance reporter for the Daily Dot.

Cecilia Lenzen The teacher says that the students cannot read their class books

Jaclyn Diaz

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