Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott sent a letter to Dan Troxell, executive director of the Texas Association of School Boards, on Monday demanding the state protect children from being exposed to pornography or other inappropriate content in Texas public schools.
The letter was also sent to Texas Education Agency Commissioner Mike Morath, State Board of Education Chairman Keven Ellis and State Library and Archives Commission Chairwoman Martha Wong.
“A growing number of parents of Texas students are becoming increasingly alarmed about some of the books and other content found in public school libraries that are extremely inappropriate in the public education system,” the governor wrote in the letter.
“The most flagrant examples include clearly pornographic images and substance that have no place in the Texas public education system. 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,” Abbott added.
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
Noting that “parents are rightfully angry,” he said, “Parents have the right to shield their children from obscene content used in schools their children attend. They are right that Texas public schools should not provide or promote pornographic or obscene material to students.”
Republican state Rep. Jeff Cason sent a similar statement Friday, saying that “the State of Texas was awakened to the fact that there are school districts that have sexually explicit books in their libraries.”
Cason specifically addressed a book called “Gender Queer” by Maia Kobabe.
“This book touches on subjects that are not appropriate for school libraries and may even be criminal for its representation of minors participating in sexual activities,” he said.
— Jeff Cason (@JeffCasonTexas) October 29, 2021
Cason asked the state’s Republican attorney general to look into the matter.
“I am calling on Attorney General Ken Paxton to start a state wide investigation into this book and others that may violate the Penal Code in relation to pornography, child pornography and decency laws, as well as the legal ramifications to school districts that approve of these types of books,” he said.
Republican state Rep. Matt Krause has asked for an even more detailed investigation. In a report on Oct. 25, The Texas Tribune discussed a 16-page letter from Krause to the Texas Education Agency demanding a look at about 850 books.
School districts have been divided so far regarding how to respond. Keller Independent School District removed a book after concerns from parents, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
Some have viewed the actions as politically motivated.
Krause is running to unseat Paxton in the Republican primary for attorney general.
His list also expanded beyond claims of indecent reading material, targeting books dealing with critical race theory.