A Texas superintendent is under investigation for trying to protect students from sexually explicit books in public school libraries.
The U.S. Department of Education has launched an investigation based on the American Civil Liberties Union’s (ACLU) complaint against Granbury Independent School District (GISD) and Superintendent Jeremy Glenn which centers on the removal of controversial books as well as related comments made by Glenn.
ACLU alleges GISD exhibited anti-LGBT discrimination and violated Title IX, the federal civil rights law prohibiting sex-based discrimination, but reinterpreted by the Biden administration to include sexual orientation and gender identity.
“I acknowledge that there are men that think they’re women, and there are women that think they’re men,” Glenn said. “And I, again, I don’t have any issues with what people want to believe, but there’s no place for it in our libraries.”
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott expressed similar concerns last year in a letter to the Texas Association of School Boards.
Texas parents “are becoming increasingly alarmed about some of the books and other content found in public school libraries that are extremely inappropriate in the public education system,” Abbott wrote. “The most flagrant examples include clearly pornographic images and substance that have no place in the Texas public education system.”
In Glenn’s case, the statement quickly drew criticism.
“I can’t overstate the type of damage it does to create a culture of shame and silence around LGBTQ topics,” said Vox Jo Hsu, an assistant professor at the University of Texas at Austin.
“I don’t think that little children should be shocked or disgusted by our identities,” argued a student from Granbury High School.
Nonetheless, school board members supported Glenn’s decision.
“All students at GISD are loved and cared for by the amazing staff and administration,” board member Courtney Gore said. “With that, public schools are not the place for young people to express themselves sexually.”
While both sides are accused of pushing political agendas, few pause to consider the scientifically proven consequences of exposing children to sexual content.
Kaiser Permanente, a California-based healthcare company, says that a child having sexual knowledge beyond what is age appropriate is a sign of sexual abuse.
“A 3-year-old child should not be able to describe in detail what happens during sexual intercourse,” said Kaiser’s website. “Young children who have firsthand knowledge of sexual acts likely have been sexually abused or have been exposed to sexual activity.”
Caroline Giroux, an associate clinical professor and psychiatrist at the University of California Davis Medical Center, argued early exposure to pornography can cause sexual trauma.
“Exposure to pornography is not trivial,” Giroux wrote. “It can have traumatic effects leading to significant distress, disruptive behaviors, compulsive sexuality and even suicidal attempts.
“We have no excuse as a society to not invest resources in prevention of sexual trauma of any kind.”