The federal government has initiated an investigation into a school district in Texas over accusations that it purged books featuring LGBTQ characters.
This investigation represents a novel legal argument; it is the first instance where the omission of LGBTQ representation in school literature is being scrutinized as a form of discrimination.
ACLU’s Complaint Against Granbury School District’s Removal of LGBTQ Books
The inquiry was sparked by a complaint of discrimination submitted last summer by the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas, as stated by attorney Chloe Kempf.
If the government’s conclusions support the accusations made by the ACLU, it may have a widespread impact on schools across the nation.
This could lead to libraries being required to provide more literature featuring LGBTQ characters and administrators having to establish procedures to ensure students have access to literature that some individuals, particularly conservative parents, may find objectionable.
Three future targets for book banners. That, plus this week's book censorship news, including new proposed laws to ban LGBTQ+ books and more: https://t.co/o41013k4TY
— Buttered Jorts (fka kelly jensen) 🐱🐰 (@veronikellymars) January 13, 2023
The literature that is most frequently targeted often addresses controversial themes, such as sexual and racial identity.
The Texas branch of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has filed a complaint against the Granbury school district, claiming officials ordered the removal of all literature featuring LGBTQ characters from school libraries.
The complaint cites statements made by Superintendent Jeremy Glenn in a private meeting held in January 2022, as reported in an article by the Texas Tribune, NBC News, and ProPublica.
Glenn allegedly stated his staff would be “removing books about transgender, LGBTQ, and sexuality.”
The investigation revealed at least 130 books were removed from library shelves, with three-quarters of them containing LGBTQ characters or themes.
Removal of LGBTQ Books in Granbury School District
According to attorney Chloe Kempf, the removal of books and the comments made by school officials create a hostile environment for LGBTQ students.
“Both the removals of the books and the comments send a message to the whole community that LGBTQ identities are inherently indecent and deserve to be stigmatized,” says Kempf.
“Furthermore, the removal of these books specifically denies LGBTQ students the chance to read literature that mirrors their own experiences.”
The Granbury school district has not given any statement regarding the matter. The Education Department also refrained from providing any further comment beyond confirming that an investigation is ongoing.
— Eye Inside The Classroom | Anti-Trans Cult (@EITC_Official) January 14, 2023
Will Flanders, the Research Director at the conservative-leaning Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty, said interpreting book access as a Title IX issue is illogical.
“This is not the kind of civil rights issue that necessitates federal intervention,” Flanders said. “This is a question of books in schools, not of individual rights being infringed.”
Flanders also expressed concern that if the government intervenes in the Granbury case, it could set a dangerous precedent of federal overreach.
He believes decisions regarding the suitability and accessibility of texts in school libraries should be left to the discretion of local school boards, a practice that has been in place since the inception of the public school system.This article appeared in Right Wing Insider and has been published here with permission.