Texas Gov. Greg Abbott decries school library books with 'pornographic material'

Does not offer specifics
Greg Abbott
Posted at 1:30 PM, Nov 05, 2021

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Monday penned a letter to the Texas Association of School Boards and asked the group to remove books he claims "promote pornographic or obscene material," firing the latest salvo in the political fight to control what's taught in state classrooms.

The letter, addressed to Texas Association of School Boards executive director Dr. Dan Troxell, says the board has an "obligation to determine the extent to which such materials exist or are used in our schools and to remove any such content."

Abbott did not cite specific examples of books that may contain such materials.

The association has not yet issued an official response, but a spokesperson said in a statement to NPR that the group "did not believe it had authority over school districts" to remove books from libraries and "does not set the standards for instructional materials, including library books."

CNN reports that Abbott's letter came a week after state lawmaker Jeff Cason called on Texas' attorney general to investigate books he considered to be "pornography."

Also, last week, state Rep. Matt Krause announced he was leading an investigation into a list of 850 books that may be in school libraries despite "objections from students, parents and taxpayers." A Dallas Morning News investigation has found that a significant portion of the books on the list were written by women, people of color or LGBTQ authors.

Texas is just one of several states where conservative lawmakers are taking the "culture wars" into the classroom. Republican Glenn Youngkin prevailed in the Virginia gubernatorial election earlier this week after raising concerns about the use of "critical race theory" in classrooms.