A Texas school district superintendent instructed librarians to remove books and materials containing LGBTQ+ content in a closed-door meeting in January, according to an investigative report from NBC, The Texas Tribune, and ProPublica.
According to the report, Jeremy Glenn, the superintendent of the Granbury Independent School District outside Dallas, called the closed-door meeting on January 10, just before the start of the spring term. In a recording from that meeting, which has been verified by the reporting new outlets, Glenn is heard telling librarians to remove books containing sexual themes and, specifically, books containing LGBTQ+ content.
“Specifically, what we’re getting at, let’s call it what it is, and I’m cutting to the chase on a lot of this,” the superintendent is heard to say on the recording. “It’s the transgender, LGBTQ and the sex – sexuality – in books. That’s what the governor has said that he will prosecute people for, and that’s what we’re pulling out.”
The comments seem to refer to a directive that the state’s Republican governor, Greg Abbott, gave last year, instructing the Texas Education Agency to investigate and prosecute schools for making “obscene” material available.
News of the request comes at a time when school districts across the country are being pressured to censor or remove LGBTQ+ related content at the behest of some parents and government officials. In one of the more widely-reported cases, the Florida House and Senate voted in early March to ban the teaching of LGBTQ+ content in the state’s schools.
Following Superintendent Glenn’s request, the Granbury district libraries reportedly removed 130 titles – “one of the largest book removals in the country” – one third of which featured LGBTQ+ characters or themes. Three of those have since been permanently banned from the collection by a volunteer review board.
NBC, The Texas Tribune, and ProPublica additionally report that the removal is “the first step in a broader appraisal of library content” that gives school administrators the power to remove materials unilaterally and which could lead to a broader fight over First Amendment rights.