North Texas School District That Secretly Removed LGBTQ+ Books Now Being Investigated

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Granbury Independent School District superintendent Jeremy Glenn was recorded telling librarians in the North Texas libraries under his purview to remove books that dealt with “transgender, LGBTQ and… sexuality.”

In the leaked recording, he’s heard saying “I acknowledge that there are men that think they’re women and there are women that think they’re men. I don’t have any issues with what people want to believe, but there’s no place for it in our libraries.”

The ACLU filed a complaint in July on the basis that his orders violate Title IX, a federal law that protects students from being discriminated against based on gender or sexual orientation.

Granbury school officials were notified on Dec. 6th that they were being investigated by the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights because of the ACLU’s July complaint. Amid a wave of discriminatory book bans, this investigation appears to be the first federal one to address the issue, but there may soon be others.

The director of free expression and education at PEN America, Jonathan Friedman, has tracked thousands of book bans and has said “It’s not uncommon to see people explicitly saying that they want to remove LGBTQ books because they believe they are indoctrinating students.”

North Texas isn’t new to these bigoted complaints and districts other than Granbury have also come under the federal government’s radar. Over the past year, the Office for Civil Rights has opened five investigations into reports of discrimination in the Carroll Independent School District in Southlake, a district that has fought over how issues like sexuality, racism, and gender are taught in schools.

The book removals and complaints have taken their toll on marginalized students. Lou Whiting, a nonbinary student at Granbury High School who has organized protests in the past, said that they felt unsafe at school, but the federal investigation brings hope: “It’s just really good to hear that there are people who are listening to us and actually doing something about it. It means a lot to hear that our efforts meant something.”

Find more news and stories of interest from the book world in Breaking in Books.

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