Pornography one 'root cause' of school violence, GOP congresswoman says

A Tennessee Republican said last week that she believes pornography is among the root causes of violence in schools, along with the deterioration of family life in America and violence in movies, according to multiple reports.

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U.S. Rep Diane Black, who is running to become Tennessee's next governor, made the comments last week during a meeting with ministers at Safe Harbor of Clarksville, Tennessee, The Huffington Post reported. The news site on Tuesday published audio from the meeting.

"Why do we see kids being so violent? What's out there? What makes them do that?" Black asks in the recording, which was also obtained by The Tennessean. "Because as a nurse, I go back to the root causes."

Among those root causes, Black named the "deterioration of the family," violence in movies and pornography, according to The Washington Post?EM-dummyText . .

“Pornography -- it’s available on the shelf when you walk in the grocery store. Yeah, you have to reach up to get it, but there’s pornography there," Black said. "All of this is available without parental guidance. And I think that is a big part of the root cause, that we see so many young people that have mental illness get caught in these places."

Black did not elaborate on why she thinks pornography might contribute to school violence, but at a rally Tuesday a spokesman for the congresswoman's gubernatorial campaign told the Tennessean that "the context from what she said is clear."

“She believes the breakdown of the family and the breakdown of societal norms is a contributing factor to violence in schools,” Chris Hartline told the newspaper.

Shannon Watts, who founded the grassroots Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America after the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, criticized Black's statement in a tweet Tuesday.

"Despite all of the data and experts at her disposal, Tennessee lawmaker chooses to blame 'grocery store pornography' for school shootings," she wrote. "And she doesn't mean the magazines that glorify guns."