Abbott directs state agencies to ‘shield children from pornography’ in Texas schools

Texas Politics
Photo of Governor Greg Abbott speaking

(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Monday announced he is directing three state agencies to take measures to “shield children from pornography” and “inappropriate content” in public schools.

The governor sent a letter to Mike Morath, Commissioner of the Texas Education Agency, Kevin Ellis, Chair of the State Board of Education, and Martha Wong, Chair of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

In his letter, Abbott asked the agency heads to “immediately develop statewide standards to prevent the presence of pornography and other obscene content in Texas public schools, including in school libraries,” and to put in place a process for parents and community members to “vet school and library materials before they are used.”

The governor sent a similar letter to the Texas Association of School Boards last week.

In his letter Monday, Abbott pointed to the recent removal of books from two school districts across the state, including a book in the Leander Independent School District titled “In the Dream House” by Carmen Maria Machado, which the governor said describes overtly sexual and pornographic acts.

Abbott said another book titled “Gender Queer: a Memoir” by Maia Kobabe was removed from a school library in the Keller Independent School District near Fort Worth, following parent complaints over illustrations.

TEA Commissioner Mike Morath (who was appointed by the governor) issued the following statement to KXAN:

“The Texas Education Agency takes seriously Governor Abbott’s call for action on this matter of great importance to families of Texas public school students. As directed, we will work closely with the Texas State Library and Archives Commission and the State Board of Education to develop statewide standards to prevent the presence of pornography and other obscene content in our public schools, including school libraries. We appreciate the Governor’s leadership on this.”

Mike Morath, TEA Commissioner

KXAN also received a statement from the Texas State Library and Archives Commission, reading:

“The Texas State Library and Archives Commission is committed to the safety and educational needs of the students of Texas. We look forward to working with the Texas Education Agency and the State Board of Education to support our students and their families.”

Statement, Texas State Library and Archives Commission

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