AUSTIN, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – Gov. Greg Abbott put some pressure on the Texas Association of School Boards Monday, Nov. 1 regarding preventing student access to inappropriate content in school libraries, including pornographic images.
In a letter to Executive Director Dan Troxell, Gov. Abbott explained he wants the association to ensure no child is exposed to that kind of content in a Texas public school.
In the letter, Gov. Abbott did not give a specific example of a book or school where this has happened, but last week, CBS 11 reported on a book with sexually explicit images and themes found in a Keller ISD school library.
The school district said that book shouldn’t have been there is is reviewing its process about how it goes about approving books.
Gov. Abbott said in his letter, “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 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.”
The TASB responded to Gov. Abbott’s letter with a statement Monday evening saying the agency has no regulatory authority over school districts and does not set standards regarding instructional materials, including library books.
Here is the full statement:
We have received Governor Abbott’s letter regarding parent concerns about books and other content reportedly found in some Texas public school libraries. We are confused, though, as to why this letter was sent to the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB), which has no regulatory authority over school districts and does not set the standards for instructional materials, including library books.
The role of a school board primarily includes establishing a strategic plan for the district, adopting policies in public meetings, approving the district’s budget, and selecting and evaluating a superintendent.
In most school districts, the review and selection of individual library materials traditionally has been an administrative responsibility managed by professional district staff.
Of course, school board trustees care deeply about parent concerns and community input. That’s why local school boards have policies and processes in place for parents to express their concerns about any matter affecting their local school community — including the challenge of library materials.
READ GOV. ABBOTT’S FULL LETTER HERE