On Wednesday, November 11th Governor Abbot called for an investigation by the state's education regulatory agencies into 'pornography' in Texas school libraries.
Abbot wrote a letter to Texas Education Agency Commissioner Mike Morath firmly outlining his expectations regarding any "instance of pornography" being provided to minors under the age of 18.
The governor informed Morath that he expected the agency to notify him of any instances of the availability of pornography which he would arrange to be prosecuted "to the fullest extent of the law."
Texas Association Of School Boards Ordered To Remove Inappropriate Materials
In a separate letter, at the start of the month, Abbott also demanded the Texas Association of School Boards remove pornography from schools.
The Governor stated, "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."
He added "The most flagrant examples include clearly pornographic images and substance that have no place in the Texas public education system. These parents are rightfully angry,"
Governor Abbott Ordered Immediate Development Of Appropriate Standards
Abbott also ordered the State Library and Archives Commission along with the Texas Board of Education to immediately develop the appropriate standards "to ensure no child is exposed to pornography" in Texas schools.
This book issue was triggered recently after a suburban Fort Worth school district reported they had removed the award-winning graphic novel about gender identity titled "Gender Queer: a Memoir."
The book was removed from the library after some parents complained that the book contained obscene material.
Maia Kobabe's book, "Gender Queer: a Memoir", has been targeted by school districts in a number of states.
The governor also referenced the book "In the Dream House" which had recently been removed by the Leander Independent School District north of Austin for questionable content.
Taking A Stand On Gender And Sexual Orientation
Abbott is not the first Republican official to take a public stand regarding gender and sexual orientation issues. There is a current culture war waging between Republicans and Democrats regarding books that may be considered inappropriate for minor-age students.
Since the governor is facing re-election in 2022, he is being aggressively challenged by more conservative candidates on the right who have criticized his lack of response to potentially controversial school library book reading materials.
The Texas Education Agency responded to Abbott's letter by stating it will take all of his concerns seriously and would comply with any necessary actions.
Also, theTexas Library and Archives Commission noted that they looked forward to working with the education agency and board of education "to support our students and their families."
Author Maia Kobabe Has Protested Her Book's Removal From Texas Schools
Author Maia Kobabe has protested the removal of her and other queer books in library and school properties.
Kobabe has told media outlets that "Removing or restricting queer books in libraries and schools is like cutting a lifeline for queer youth, who might not yet even know what terms to ask Google to find out more about their own identities, bodies, and health."
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