AUSTIN, Texas – The Texas Education Agency has provided school districts with a new policy model for reviewing library materials under the direction of Gov. Greg Abbott, who sent a letter to the state agency last November expressing concern that schoolchildren were exposed to pornography. materials in libraries.
The model policy, attached to the correspondence known as “To the Managed Administrator”, was distributed through the agency’s government and responsibility division. Library policy cites the Texas Penal Code to define what they consider inappropriate material for young readers.
“Texas Penal Code §43.24 (a) (2) describes harmful material as material whose dominant subject matter is taken as a whole: (1) appeals to the lewd interest of a minor, in sex, nudity or excretion; (2) is evidently offensive to the standards that prevail in the adult community as a whole with respect to what is appropriate for minors, and (3) it is absolutely without redemption of social value for minors, ”according to the proposed policy. material in violation of the Texas Penal Code §43.24 (b). No library material will be used if it contains content that may meet the standard for harmful material. Finally, collection development policies must demonstrate a commitment to compliance with the Internet Child Protection Act (CIPA) as specified in 47 USC §254 (h) (5), including technology protection measures.
In another section, the proposed policy requires school libraries to maintain a list of materials in place and materials that the school library hopes to acquire.
“Recognizing that parents have an essential role to play in their children’s educational review and have the right to guide what their children read, each library should maintain a printed list of materials in place and on the school library website showing the The superintendent, or the district-appointed administrator, will offer a “Preview for Parents” at least ten days before they are selected. books are placed on the shelves, once in the fall and once in the spring. Audiovisual materials should be made available to parents for review in person, upon request, on the same basis that printed materials are available.
Last October, Rep. Matt Krause, R-Fort Worth, sent a letter to TEA and school district leaders across the state, asking districts if they carried any of the 850 book titles that Krause identified as reprehensible. He also asked school districts to identify books that included human sexuality, sexually transmitted diseases, sexually explicit images, or graphic depictions of sexual behaviors in violation of the law.
Krause, a former rival of Attorney General Ken Paxton, is in the second round for the Tarrant County District Attorney. The second round will be decided on May 24.
Abbott sent two letters to TEA. The first letter called for TEA, in conjunction with the Texas State Library and Archives Commission and the State Board of Education, to draft a new policy for school library materials. A second letter, issued two days later, called for ASD to send pornographic materials to any school district for criminal prosecution under the Texas Penal Code.
The draft policy also sets out guidelines for age-appropriate material and steps parents and community members can take to protest library materials. Those steps to protest are identical to those in the draft policy that the Texas School Board Association has provided to school districts.
Other sections of the policy describe the procurement procedures and a biannual review of library contents by the district library supervisor. The review aims to remove materials that are no longer relevant to students ’curriculum or interests.
The state agency provides guidance on book reviews of the school library
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