Texas governor decries school library books with ‘pornographic or obscene material’

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is asking the state’s association of school boards to “ensure no child is exposed to pornography or other inappropriate content in a Texas public school,” in the latest Republican attempt to dictate what can and can’t be taught in classrooms.

Texas school libraries are governed by their independent districts as well as by standards established and approved by the state, as Abbott noted in the letter. While classroom textbooks are reviewed and adopted by the state’s board of education, library books are reviewed at the district level.

The school boards association has not responded publicly to the letter.

But a spokesperson told NPR over email that the group was “confused” about why it had been the recipient, given that it “has no regulatory authority over school districts and does not set the standards for instructional materials, including library books.”

Texas state Rep. Matt Krause, who chairs the Texas House’s General Investigating Committee — and is also a candidate for attorney general — wrote a letter to the Texas Education Agency’s deputy commissioner of school programs and school superintendents, announcing an inquiry into the books districts offer.

Krause attached a 16-page list of roughly 850 book titles, most of which appear to be related to gender identity, sexuality, race and sexual health. They were published between the 1960s and this year, and several have won awards. An analysis from The Dallas Morning News found that “of the first 100 titles listed, 97 were written by women, people of color or LGBTQ authors.”

Source: NPR