The favorite novel of Texas state representative James Talarico has nine explicit sexual scenes and a sexual assault. if not the outstanding Texas book.
Talarico so questioned Rep. Jared Patterson, the bill’s author, during a congressional discussion of a bill attempting to purge school libraries of “sexually explicit material,” if the beloved, Pulitzer Prize–winning “Lonesome Dove” would be eliminated under the proposed legislation.
Without having read the book, Patterson remarked, “I don’t care if it’s ‘Lonesome Dove’ or any other novel – if it involves sexually explicit stuff, I would view that as a wonderful triumph for the students of the state to not have that material in the library.”
The goal of Patterson’s bill, he explained to the members of the House Public Education Committee, is straightforward: If a book contains explicit sexual material, it has no place on any bookshelf in any of Texas’ approximately 9,000 K-12 institutions.
Leaders like Cesar Chavez built strong unions and a strong middle class.
But corporations bribed politicians to weaken unions with “right-to-work” laws.
— James Talarico (@jamestalarico) March 31, 2023
Many of the people who would be impacted by the legislation feel that it is anything but straightforward.
Law professionals, libraries, and some parents have expressed worry that the bill’s wording is too ambiguous and broad to include works that aren’t objectionable. They are concerned that the loss of those books from the shelves may limit the learning and development of pupils, whose experiences might not be captured in the volumes that would remain.
House Bill 900, which Speaker Dade Phelan has deemed a priority, would mandate a mandatory school library standard, ratings from book sellers before they sell them to schools, and the outlawing of some books that depict sexual conduct.
It would also require parental permission to access library materials that contain sexual content that are permitted by the bill. The bill was advanced by the Public Education Committee on Wednesday, the same day that a Senate bill that restricts school libraries’ book selection was discussed in a committee hearing in the upper chamber.
Supporters of these policies claim that inappropriate literature that deal with topics best discussed at home, if at all, are overrun in schools.
Opponents worry that novels that examine ethnicity, sexual orientation, and gender identity, as well as unusual, horrific situations that a student might not be comfortable expressing but could read about in a book, will end up being targeted.
Other measures would make it simpler to file criminal charges against municipal librarians for granting patrons access to publications that were deemed unsuitable.
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The law that targets school libraries is only the most recent front in a bigger conflict over the educational opportunities offered to children in public schools.
Legislators restricted how educators might discuss divisive current events and America’s history of racism in 2021. Legislators are debating motions this year that would restrict discussions of gender identity and sexual orientation in the classroom and ban gay pride celebrations there.
Although LGBTQ-centered novels are not specifically mentioned in the proposals, others are concerned that any prohibitions that are enacted will specifically target them.
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