Texas Gov. Abbott Calls for Probe Into 'Availability of Pornography' in Schools
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott. (Eric Gay/AP)
By Charlie McCarthy | Wednesday, 10 November 2021 01:07 PM
Gov. Greg Abbott, R-Texas, has called for an investigation into criminal activity due to the availability of pornographic content in the state’s public schools.
Abbott directed his request to the Texas Education Agency.
"NEW: Directing @TEAinfo to investigate any criminal activity in public schools related to the availability of pornographic material & to report such instances for prosecution to the fullest extent of the law," Abbott tweeted Wednesday morning.
The governor sent a letter to TEA two days after asking the agency, the Texas State Library and Archives Commission, and the State Board of Education to develop statewide standards preventing "obscene content in public schools."
While such standards were being developed, Abbott wrote to the TEA that a "more immediate action is needed to protect Texas students" against that inappropriate content, which he said is "a clear violation" of state law.
"In Texas, it is illegal to provide pornography to anyone under the age of 18 according to Section 43.24 of the Texas Penal Code," Abbott said in his latest letter. "The fact that pornographic material that serves no educational purpose has been made available to students in Texas public schools is a clear violation of the law.
"We have a responsibility to ensure that no Texas child is exposed to pornography or obscene content while in a Texas public school, and your investigation will help accomplish this mission."
In his letter Monday to the three groups, Abbott said "a growing number of parents of Texas students are rightfully outraged about highly inappropriate books and other content in public school libraries."
He cited "Gender Queer: a Memoir" by Maia Kobabe, and "In the Dream House" by Carmen Maria Machado.
Kobabe's book is about the author's journey with gender identity, and at some points includes illustrations of oral sex and other sexual content, The Texas Tribune reported.
Machado’s book is a memoir that examines an abusive relationship between two women.
The governor said the Keller Independent School District recently removed Kobabe’s book from one of its high school libraries after some parents raised concerns over the novel; and that Machado's was recently removed from classrooms in the Leander Independent School District.
Abbott earlier this month said the Texas Association of School Boards should remove "pornographic" books from public school libraries, after state Rep. Matt Krause, R, launched an investigation into school books.