AUSTIN, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Officials with the Texas Education Agency responded to a recent letter from Texas Gov. Greg Abbott regarding content students can find within public libraries.
In a letter sent by Mike Morath, commissioner of the TEA, to Abbott released Monday, Morath said that the TEA has outlined a model local school board policy that aims to address “obscene content that may be found in Texas public school libraries.”
This comes after Abbott’s office sent a letter to the TEA in November 2021, asking the agency to investigate “any criminal activity in public schools involving the availability of pornographic material that serves no educational purpose.” Abbott also directed the TEA, as well as the Texas State Library and Archives Commission as well as the Texas State Board of Education to develop standards to “ensure no child is exposed to pornography or other inappropriate content in a Texas public school.”
According to previous reports by MyHighPlains.com, Abbott did not specify what qualifies as inappropriate material. At the time, MyHighPlains.com also found no graphic pornography readily available through databases accessible by students, educators and other individuals.
“As you noted in your letter, there have been several instances recently of inappropriate materials being found in school libraries,” Morath said in the letter. “This is unacceptable and the students of Texas should not be exposed to this harmful content in their local schools.”
In the letter, Morath said the model policy can serve as a guide to school boards, helping create policies for their school district libraries. This policy aims to “establish strong procedures related to the selection, review and transparency of library materials that emphasize the rights of Texas parents.” Officials also said the policy references the standards regarding “inappropriate and harmful content for students as defined by the Texas Penal Code and the federal Children’s Internet Protection Act.”
Officials said the model policy will be shared with school districts throughout the state. For more information about the policy, visit the Texas Education Agency’s website.