Acting as head of the Texas House General Investigating Committee, state Rep. Matt Krause (R-Fort Worth) asked the Texas Education Agency (TEA) for an accounting of sexually explicit or racially preferential books.
The letter, obtained by The Texas Tribune, comes with a full list of books along with a description of topics: “human sexuality, sexually transmitted diseases, or human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), sexually explicit images, graphic presentations of sexual behavior that is in violation of the law, or… material that might make students feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress because of their race or sex or convey that a student, by virtue of their race or sex, is inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously.”
The 16-page book list includes “The Seventeen Guide To Sex And Your Body,” “The Last Time I Wore A Dress,” and “This Book Is Anti-Racist,” among hundreds of others. Notable authors include Ta-Nehisi Coates, Michael Crichton, Margaret Atwood, and Ibram X. Kendi.
The language of Krause’s letter recalls the text of legislation the state passed earlier this year meant to stop the “inculcation” of critical race theory in the classroom.
The Texas legislature first passed House Bill (HB) 3979 and then replaced it with a mostly identical revision bill, Senate Bill (SB) 3. The first bill took effect September 1 and says that teachers and administrators in Texas public schools may not “require or make part of a course the concept that… an individual should feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress on account of the individual’s race or sex.”
The final statute put in place by the second bill, which will take effect and replace the first bill in December, is somewhat different. Instead of dealing with students’ feelings, it takes a more judicial approach. The final statute says that teachers and administrators may not “inculcat[e]” students with the concept that “an individual, by virtue of the individual’s race or sex, bears responsibility, blame, or guilt for actions committed by other members of the same race or sex.”
While the new law regulates school employee training, classroom instruction, and the state curriculum, it does not deal with libraries. It does require schools to give parents access to the learning materials their children use.
Krause did not respond to a request for comment. A staffer from his office said that committee policy prevents Krause from commenting on pending investigations.
The committee’s vice chair, Rep. Victoria Neave (D-Dallas), said Krause sent the letter without her knowledge. By publishing time, Neave had not replied for comment.
Neave told The Dallas Morning News that the inquiry could lead to “whitewashing.”
”Our focus should be really on the children, the parents and the school districts and allowing them to do the work that’s best — and make the decisions that are best — for our kids,” she said. “That is ensuring we have historically accurate books, that the children learn about our history, and that we don’t whitewash history.”
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