Texas parents have joined Republican lawmakers in a battle over the books in public schools, citing a responsibility to protect students and children.
Recently, Texas Republican lawmakers moved to ban certain books from public school libraries.
In October, Fort Worth State Rep. Matt Krause flagged 850 books that he thought would make Texas students “feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress because of their race or sex.” In November, Gov. Greg Abbott told Texas education officials to remove pornographic materials from public schools.
In response to this, Rena Honea, the president of Dallas’ Alliance/AFT teachers union, said she finds it interesting that the governor would send a letter to an entity that doesn’t have any influence or control over school library books.
“I see this as Governor Abbott just joining the political parade, tooting his own horn on race and sex issues, to score points for the very crowded primary he’s got coming up in the spring,” said Honea.
Now, Texas parents have come together to petition librarians to become more stringent with their selection process for books that they say shouldn’t be seen by young eyes.
Librarians are pushing back and sounding the alarm on what they see as a potential surge in state-sanctioned censorship. Shirley Robinson, executive director of the Texas Library Association, has said that some books have been removed outright with due process.
“We are seeing overreach beyond the normal operations of public school libraries by entities who seem to be pursuing a narrative designed to question the professional expertise of librarians and administrators and create mistrust to promote an agenda,” said Robinson. “This is an affront to democracy.”
On the other hand, parents believe they should be able to choose the material to which their children are exposed.
“We, as parents, have a duty and responsibility to shelter our children from things that could potentially harm them, whether it be physical or mentally,” said Kelly DeLong, whose child attends Fort Worth Public School. “And as parents, we should have a say in what they might read that could damage them mentally. I mean, there are kids, they’re still developing, you know?”
Before this, Dallas Public Library hadn’t seen any book challenges in 2021 and only one in 2020.