Texas House GOP members urge schools not to buy books from sellers who supply ‘pornographic’ material

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In the latest salvo in Texas Republicans’ fight against what they describe as indoctrination and lewdness in schools, several Republican state officials are calling on Texas school district officials to commit not to buy books from vendors who have supplied schools with what lawmakers consider to be pornography.

State Representative Jared Patterson, R-Frisco, sent a letter Wednesday to school districts asking school officials to sign the pledge. In his letter, Patterson said children across Texas have been exposed to materials such as “Gender Queer: A Memoir,” a graphic novel that has become a lightning rod both nationwide and in Texas among some parents and Republican officials.

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The book, by Maia Kobabe, describes the author’s experiences growing up and struggling to identify as gay, bisexual or asexual. It contains a few pages of explicit illustrations depicting oral sex, which have outraged some parents and heads of state.

The author, who uses the pronouns e/em/eir, told the Texas Tribune last year that students need “good, accurate, and safe information on these topics” instead of “searching wildly online” and to potentially come across erroneous information.

But some Republicans, including Gov. Greg Abbott, called the book “pornographic.” Patterson repeated this description in his letter.

“Local districts and the Legislative Assembly will work diligently on policies to prevent such books from being allowed on campus in the future,” Patterson wrote. “However, we also recognize that school districts have a lot [of] market power when buying books and that if we unite against explicit materials for children, book sellers will be forced to adapt.

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The letter was signed by 26 additional Republican lawmakers, including state Rep. Matt Krause, R-Fort Worth, who initially compiled a list of some 850 books on race and sexuality that were sent to school districts for request information on the number available. on their campuses.

“Respectfully, I ask you to make this pledge on behalf of every Texan child in public schools who does not deserve to be exposed to obscene material,” Patterson said.

The book was also included in state Rep. Matt Krause, R-Fort Worth’s list of some 850 books on race and sexuality, which he sent to school districts asking for information on the number of books. available on their campuses.

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Abbott also cited “Gender Queer” when he ordered the Texas Education Agency to investigate criminal activity related to “the availability of pornography” in November. Abbott also cited the book in directing the TEA, the Texas State Library and Archives Commission, and the State Board of Education to develop standards for blocking books with “overtly sexual” content in schools.

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