The Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights opened an investigation earlier this month into a Texas school district regarding its removal of LGBT-themed library books, the Texas Tribune reported.
Granbury Independent School District is under federal investigation for allegedly violating Title IX, which safeguards students from discrimination based on sex, gender, and sexual orientation.
What’s the background?
In January, a leaked audio recording captured Superintendent Jeremy Glenn informing the district’s librarians that there would be a thorough review of specific titles on the library shelves. He noted that a review committee of parents and educators would be formed to remove books that included content inappropriate for children.
“I don’t want a kid picking up a book, whether it’s about homosexuality or heterosexuality, and reading about how to hook up sexually in our libraries,” Glenn said. “If they want to get more information about how to become transgender, or sex, go to the public library. There’s no place for it in our libraries.”
Glenn stated that the district would focus on reviewing books containing sexual themes and gender ideology content. According to the superintendent, the school board and concerned parents requested the book review.
“Granbury is in a very, very conservative community. And our board is very, very conservative,” Glenn added. “If it is not what you believe, you better hide it. Because it ain’t changing in Granbury. And here, in this community, we’re going to be conservative.”
According to the district, the review process resulted in eight books being removed from school libraries.
“Two of the eight books did have LGBTQ+ themes, however all of the books that were removed had sexually explicit and/or pervasively vulgar content,” the district stated.
In July, the ACLU launched a complaint against the district and accused Glenn’s comments of creating a “pervasively hostile” environment for LGBT+ students.
“In this case it was made very clear, because the superintendent kind of said the quiet part out loud,” Chloe Kempf, an ACLU attorney, told the Texas Tribune. “It’s pretty clear that that kind of motivation is animating a lot of these policies nationwide.”
“These comments, combined with the book removals, really send a message to LGBTQ students in the districts that: ‘You don’t belong here. Your existence is shameful. It should be censored,'” Kempf added.
If the federal investigation finds that Granbury ISD violated Title IX, the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights can force the district to make policy changes.
Neither Glenn nor the Granbury Independent School District replied to a request for comment, the Texas Tribune reported.
District, parents respond to audio leak of Granbury ISD superintendent comments on LGTBQ+ books