State Watch

Texas school district pulls 400 books from libraries after state GOP lawmaker’s inquiry

A Texas school district has flagged more than 400 library books for review following an inquiry from state Rep. Matt Krause (R). 

North East Independent School District in San Antonio said its libraries housed 414 books on Krause’s list of about 800 that he alleged contained content that was cause for concern for young readers, NBC News reported.

In a letter that Krause sent to the Texas Education Agency in October, he asked school leaders to identify the number of copies they had of the specific books on his list and how much money the school districts paid for those books. 

Many of the books on Krause’s list center around abortion, teen pregnancy, sex education, LGBTQ narratives, the Black Lives Matter movement and anti-racism. Some of the popular titles on the list are “The Handmaid’s Tale” by Margaret Atwood, “The Confessions of Nat Turner” by William Styron, “The Cider House Rules” by John Irving, and “We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy” and “Between the World and Me,” by Ta-Nehisi Coates. 

“Most of those are appropriate and will stay on our library shelves as is, however, some may contain content that needs further review to ensure the books are accessible based on age appropriateness,” Aubrey Chancellor, executive director of communications for the school district, said in a statement obtained by NBC. “For us, this is not about politics or censorship, but rather about ensuring that parents choose what is appropriate for their minor children.”

Chancellor told NBC that the school district had already been reviewing certain library books before Krause’s letter. 

“When I look at some of those titles on there, they in no way are going to be inappropriate,” she told the news outlet. “They’re going to be absolutely reviewed and back on the shelves. So, you know, maybe all of them may end up going back on our shelves. But we just want to do our due diligence.”

Chancellor also told NBC that the school district expects the review to be completed in a timely manner and that books deemed appropriate will be returned to shelves quickly, though the pace may differ depending on the individual school. The school district will also form a book review committee that will consider whether some books should be categorized in school libraries by age appropriateness. 

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) followed up on Krause’s request to state education officials last month, saying that “pornographic or obscene material” has no place in schools and that school boards are responsible for protecting their students from “inappropriate content.” 

Tags banned books Gov. Greg Abbott Greg Abbott Texas schools

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