Jan 31, 2022 - News

Texas parents and students fight school book bans

A legislator reading a document
Texas Rep. Matt Krause, from Fort Worth, has led the charge against...books. Photo: Eric Gay/AP

Outraged parents and students are pushing back against efforts to remove a variety of books from Texas schools.

Why it matters: This is the biggest challenge to which books are taught in schools in decades, according to Pew research.

Yes, but: Gov. Greg Abbott has decried “pornography” in public schools and he’s made conservative-minded education a cornerstone of his re-election campaign. Last week he unveiled a “Parental Bill of Rights.”

  • Texas state Rep. Matt Krause, from Fort Worth, who chairs the Texas House’s General Investigating Committee, made a 16-page list of roughly 850 book titles he said might make students feel “discomfort.”

Driving the news: Granbury ISD pulled at least 125 books from school libraries as part of a review — and some students were furious.

What they’re saying: “No government — and public school is an extension of government — has ever banned books and banned information from its public and been remembered in history as the good guys,” one high school junior told the district during a meeting last week.

  • “We want to learn about things that may not be the prettiest or the most comfortable, but we as students are entitled to complete knowledge — not information that has been disseminated," another student said in the same meeting.

Context: The move to ban these books stems from fears over Texas schools teaching critical race theory and other issues related to race and sexuality.

  • An analysis from The Dallas Morning News found that of the first 100 titles on Krause’s list, 97 were written by women, people of color or LGBTQ authors.
  • In Round Rock, just north of Austin, a Black Parents Association mobilized to stop the district there from banning “Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You,” according to NBC News.

The irony: Abbott has railed against what he calls “dangerous” censorship — on social media — and “cancel culture” in general. Last year he signed a bill making it illegal for social media platforms to ban users for political viewpoints.

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