‘Pornography in Texas schools’: Governor calls for removal of library books

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DALLAS, TX – MAY 04: Texas Gov. Greg Abbott speaks at the NRA-ILA Leadership Forum during the NRA Annual Meeting & Exhibits at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center on May 4, 2018 in Dallas, Texas (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Texas Gov. Greg Abbott called for the removal of “clearly pornographic” and “extremely inappropriate” books he says parents are alarmed their children have seen.

In a letter to the Texas Association of School Boards, Abbott explained that “rightfully angry parents” should be able to shield their children from public schools that “provide or promote pornographic or obscene material to students.”

However, Abbott did not elaborate on instances where this has happened or which books/content are in question. Instead, he called on districts to determine the extent to which such materials may exist and “remove them.”

“You have an obligation to Texas parents and students to ensure that no child in Texas is exposed to pornography or other inappropriate content while inside a Texas public school,” he wrote.

Additionally, Abbott said schools should have increased transparency regarding in-class materials and materials available in school libraries. He also called for increased reporting on incoming materials as they happen, or “vetting.”

While the letter doesn’t explicitly refer to it, a Texas House committee recently began an investigation into school districts and whether they carry certain titles, the Houston Chronicle reported. Books containing sexual discussion or imagery, LGBTQ identities, and race are among the most questioned titles.

Committee chairperson U.S. Rep. Matt Krause, R-Fort Worth, is among the inquiry’s driving forces. Chron reported the congressman requested districts to inventory which of their books “contain material that might make students feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress because of their race or sex or convey that a student, by virtue of their race or sex, is inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously.”

The list contains over 800 titles.

Some of the books included on the committee’s list include the Pulitzer-prize winning book, “Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America,” by acclaimed Black author and anti-racist activist Ibram X. Kendi; several titles by best-selling LGBTQ young adult fiction author Adam Silvera; titles discussing the Black Lives Matter movement, and famed novel “The Cider House Rules,” by John Irving.

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