Public schoolteachers in Kansas could be jailed for teaching “harmful material,” and university professors would be banned from signing op-ed letters with their titles when writing about public officials, if two new bills become law.

Senate Bill 56 , introduced on Jan. 22 by state Sen. Mary Pilcher-Cook, R-Shawnee, would amend Kansas’ public morals statute by deleting an exemption that protects K-12 public, private and parochial schoolteachers from being prosecuted for presenting material deemed harmful to minors.

According to the bill, “harmful material” includes depictions of nudity, sexual conduct, homosexuality, sexual excitement or sadomasochistic abuse “in a manner that is patently offensive to prevailing standards in the community with respect to what is suitable for minors.”

Teachers could be charged with a class B misdemeanor and face up to six months in jail if teaching materials contain depictions that a “reasonable person” would find to lack “serious literary, scientific, educational, artistic or political value for minors.”

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