Gov. Abbott sends another letter to TEA, doubles down on claims of porn in public schools

Local News

AUSTIN, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) – In yet another letter to the Texas Education Agency (TEA), Governor Greg Abbott on Wednesday morning directed the agency to investigate criminal activity in public schools involving the availability of “pornographic material that serves no educational purpose.” He also directed the agency to report any instance of pornography being provided to children for prosecution, despite the fact educators are already mandated by law to report harm to children, and the agency having multiple guidebooks about the ways it does.

This came after a Monday letter from Abbott that directed the Texas Education Agency (TEA), Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC), and Texas State Board of Education (SBOE), to develop statewide standards “to ensure no child is exposed to pornography or other inappropriate content in a Texas public school.” The Governor’s Office said that this came after the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB) ‘abdicated the responsibility of school boards’ to protect students in that manner.

The abdication the governor referred to followed last week’s letter from the governor to the TASB, and the launch of an inquiry by Representative Matt Krause that asked some school districts – including Amarillo ISD – to turn in an audit by Nov. 12 regarding whether or not certain books were available in their libraries.

The list outlined by Rep. Krause’s audit includes a vast number of books on civil rights in respect to racial equality, feminism, and LGBTQ+ rights, as well as mental and physical health-focused books that include sexual education.

It is unclear what the governor meant by pornography “that serves no educational purpose,” and also what the governor qualifies as inappropriate material. It is further not clear how the TEA will be expected to change its current guidelines to prevent harm to students and hold districts accountable for conduct and content.

According to Amarillo ISD in a previous statement on the ongoing audit, books that are a part of AISD’s curriculum “are generally vetted through a process that includes teachers, district and school administration, and any other individuals who offer specific content expertise to evaluate whether the material is age, grade, and content appropriate.” Those libraries are also given content through district sharing and alongside public library resources.

The Amarillo Public Library has multiple databases for scholarly works, classroom discussion, research, and entertainment for students of all ages that can be accessed and filtered using school information and school ID or library-card-based login.

Despite MyHighPlains.com spending hours searching through the databases accessible by students, educators, and other residents, there was no graphic pornography readily available.

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