Republican State Rep. Matt Krause — also a candidate for Texas attorney general and chairman of the Texas House Committee on General Investigating — has launched an investigation into the types of literature available to public school students.
The lawmaker’s Oct. 25 letter to Lily Laux, the Texas Education Agency deputy commissioner of school programs, and other superintendents indicates that his inquiry is prompted by the removal of books at Carroll ISD among other incidents in which parents found books in the classroom to be objectionable.
In his letter, Krause instructs Texas school districts to conduct and report to him an inventory of books that he listed on an addendum attached to his letter, to specify how many copies a given school has on campus (including all libraries and classrooms) and the amount of funds spent on each book.
Not only has Krause provided 16 pages (ordered by titles, obtained by the Texas Tribune) worth of tomes he requires the districts to report, but he also adds that any other books that contain the following should be included in the inventory:
“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 contain 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 list includes “Jane against the world : Roe v. Wade and the fight for reproductive rights” by Dallas’ own late Karen Blumenthal (whose husband Scott is spotlighted in the most recent Lake Highlands Advocate), Pulitzer winners including “Between the World and Me” by Ta-Nehisi Coates and 848 more.
School officials have until Nov. 12 to respond, according to the letter, although is remains unclear what will happen to the books once the inventories are complete.
We have reached out to Rep. Krause to determine what will happen if districts do not comply or what will be done once those lists come in, and he has not immediately responded to a request for comment. The Advocate also is looking into the implications at both Dallas ISD and Richardson ISD.