Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said “pornographic images and substance” don’t belong in schools, according to a Monday letter he wrote to the Texas Association of School Boards.
Abbott warned about a growing number of parents who are increasingly alarmed by the books and other “extremely inappropriate” content found in the public school education system, but did not give any specific example in the letter addressed to Dan Troxell, executive director of the Texas Association of School Boards.
The Texas Association of School Boards has “an obligation to determine the extent to which such materials exist or are used in our schools and to remove any such content,” the letter said. “You must also ensure transparency about the materials being taught in the classroom and offered in school libraries.”
“These parents are rightfully angry,” Abbott wrote. He said parents have the right to “shield” their children from “obscene content.”
NEW: Calling on the Texas Association of School Boards to shield children from pornography, inappropriate content in Texas public schools. https://t.co/ZgErC44j0A— Gov. Greg Abbott (@GovAbbott) November 1, 2021
School libraries in the state are governed by their school districts in accordance with standards determined by the Texas State Library, the Archives Commission, and the State Board of Education, which are all accountable to the state, Abbott wrote in his letter. Library books and other classroom resources are reviewed by the districts, unlike textbooks, which are approved by the State Board of Education.
Abbott’s letter was also sent to officials with the Texas Education Agency, the State Board of Education, and the Texas State Libraries and Archives Commission.
Each school should have a process to vet library materials before they are made available to students and the Texas Association of School Boards has an obligation to parents and students to ensure that no child in Texas is exposed to inappropriate content, such as pornography, while at a Texas public school, Abbott warned.
The Texas Association of School Boards is confused as to why it was sent the letter because it has “no regulatory authority over school districts and does not set the standards for instructional materials, including library books,” spokeswoman Theresa Gage told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
“In most school districts, the review and selection of individual library materials traditionally has been an administrative responsibility managed by professional district staff,” Gage added.
On Oct. 25, Texas state Rep. Matt Krause opened an investigation into library books and curriculum in the state’s public schools.
Krause asked school leaders to identify where copies of books, compiled in a 16-page list, were located in school libraries and classrooms, as well as how much money the district had spent to buy them, in a letter to a Texas Education Agency official and unnamed superintendents. He also asked school leaders to identify other education materials that “might make students feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress.”
Some of the books on Krause’s list include “Stamped From the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America,” by Ibram X. Kendi, which purports that “racist thought is alive and well in America—more sophisticated and more insidious than ever,” and “Not My Idea: A Book About Whiteness” by Anastasia Higginbotham, which The New York Times describes as “an honest explanation about how power and privilege factor into the lives of white children, at the expense of other groups, and how they can help seek justice.”
Books in public schools became an important issue in the Virginia gubernatorial race.
Republican candidate Glenn Youngkin criticized Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe for vetoing the “Beloved Bill” in 2016 that would have required school districts to warn parents about education materials containing “sexually explicit” content and would have required teachers to provide alternative instructional materials for any student whose parent requests an alternative.
The bill was brought to the state’s General Assembly by a Fairfax County Public Schools mother who opposed her son reading the book in his high school class, which detailed sex, rape, and bestiality, The Associated Press reported.
Abbott did not immediately respond to The Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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