“Black Lives Matter: from the hashtag to the street. “Indian Movement Law and Trail of Tears.” “Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag. “ What these books all have in common is that they are on an investigation list by a Texas Republican who wants to know if they are shared in schools.
On Tuesday, the Texas Tribune reported on a letter from Republican State Representative Matt Krause, chairman of the House Committee on General Investigations, to the Texas Education Agency and school principals about the contents of the school district. Krause has attached a 16-page addendum with over 850 books, many of which deal with themes of race, history, sexuality, and LGBTQ issues.
Krause would like to know how many copies of each book the school district has and whether the district funds were used to purchase the books. Additionally, Krause is asking each school district to report similar content.
“Please identify any other books or content in your district, specifying the location of the campus and funds spent on acquisition, that address or contain the following topics: human sexuality, sexually transmitted diseases or human immunodeficiency virus ( HIV) or Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), sexually explicit images, graphic representations of sexual behavior against the law, or containing material that may cause students to feel discomfort, guilt, anxiety or any other form of psychological distress because of their race or gender or to convey that a student, because of their race or gender, is inherently racist, sexist or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously ”, Krause wrote.
According to the Tribune, Krause, a candidate for the post of attorney general, did not inform the vice-chair of the committee, State Representative Victoria Neave, of the investigation. “Her letter reflects the Republican Party’s attempt to dilute the voices of people of color,” she told the Tribune.
Many of the books on the Inquiry List are written by prominent black authors, including Mikki “This Is Your Time,” by civil rights pioneer Ruby Bridges, who is also on the list.
Krause’s list also includes several books with LGBTQ content, including the popular young adult novel “Aristotle and Dante Uncover Secrets of the Universe.” The novel, about two young boys growing up in El Paso, was named one of “Best Books for Teens” by Kirkus Reviews in 2013.
Books on sex and sexuality also feature high on the list, including “Gender Identity: The Ultimate Guide for Teens” and “Safe Sex 101: An Overview for Teens”. A book on Wonder Woman, “Wonder Woman Unbound: The Curious Tale of the World’s Most Famous Heroine,” is also targeted.
What can and cannot be taught in public schools has recently become a thorny issue. Earlier this year, the state legislature passed House Bill 3979, a school censorship bill that severely restricts what can and cannot be taught in public schools.
Several school districts have made headlines over recent decisions, including when Katy ISD decided to call off an appearance by acclaimed children’s book novelist Jerry Craft. Several Craft books are on Krause’s list.
Another book on Krause’s target list is “Not My Idea: A Book About Whiteness” by Anastasia Higginbotham. His anti-racism picture book was cited by Republican Steve Toth as he tried to get more sponsors for HB 3979 at Texas House.
In Krause’s letter to the Texas Education Agency and superintendents, he asked districts to respond by November 12.