Protect Tennessee Children from Digital Obscenity in Schools

Tennessee Eagle Forum


Concerns have been raised that too many Tennessee children are being exposed to material that is obscene or otherwise harmful.  Unfortunately, this exposure is facilitated by an exception to prosecution that exempts actors from criminal liability when the exposure is for educational purposes.


SB 2292 – HB 2454  seeks to protect children from these obscenities by revising the exception and requiring LEAs to filter and block obscenity through online resources.



Tennessee law defines “Harmful to minors” as any description or representation, in whatever form, of nudity, sexual excitement, sexual conduct, excess violence or sadomasochistic abuse when the matter or performance:

  • would be found by the average person applying contemporary community standards to appeal predominantly to the prurient, shameful or morbid interests of minors;
  • is patently offensive to prevailing standards in the adult community as a whole with respect to what is suitable for minors; and
  • taken as whole lacks serious literary, artistic, political or scientific values for minors.


The Tennessee Harmful Materials to Minors law includes an exception for“scientific, educational, governmental or other similar justification.”  Similar defenses exist in 43 states as a result of the early 1970s state adoption of the American Law Institute Model Penal Code based on the fraudulent research of Dr. Alfred Kinsey.  Kinsey’s pedophilic experiments were meant to further the philosophy that “children are sexual from birth”, can and should consent and engage in sexual activity, and adults should not prohibit such exploration.


SB 2292 – HB 2454  establishes that the “educational” justification in the Harmful Materials to Minors statute does not apply if the obscene material is possessed by a person with the intent to send, sell, distribute, exhibit, or display the material to a minor.

SB 2292 – HB 2454 adds a requirement that the provider of a digital or online resource for an LEA's computers verify that the resource:

(1)   Prohibits and prevents a user of the resource from sending, receiving, viewing, or downloading materials that are deemed to be harmful to minors; and

(2)   Filters or blocks access to child pornography or obscenity through online resources.

If a provider fails to fulfillthe contract, then the LEA may withhold further payments, if any, to the provider until the provider's obligations are fulfilled. If a provider fails to fulfill the provider's obligations for more than five business days, then the LEA may consider the provider's non-compliance a breach of contract.

SB 2292 - HB 2454 requires each local board of education to:

(1) Establish, or contract with a third party to establish, a mechanism for the parent or legal guardian of a student enrolled in the LEA, or a student enrolled in the LEA, to report a failure of the technology selected by the LEA to prevent access to pornography or obscenity through online resources to the respective school; and

(2) Submit an annual report to the state board of education on the successes or failures of the technology selected by the LEA to prevent access to pornography or obscenity through online resources, including the number of reports submitted by parents, guardians, and students.

Tennessee can and should protect Tennessee children in schools!

Vote YES on SB 2292-HB 2454


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