Gov. Abbott signs bill banning certain books in school libraries

Gov. Greg Abbott signed some controversial education bills into law Monday, June 12, including one to ban certain books in school libraries. He also called for another special session, to try to get school choice vouchers passed in the Texas Legislature.

Abbott signed HB 900 into law, banning books from school libraries that are deemed to be sexually explicit.

"It prohibits library material that is sexually explicit, vulgar or educationally unsuitable, and recognizes parents as the primary decision makers regarding their child's access to library materials," said Abbott.

Gov. Greg Abbott signed HB 900 and HB 1605, both of which are deemed controversial education bills.

Also becoming law, was HB 1605, which specifies curriculum material, and restricts that material in order to prevent "obscene or harmful content" from making it into teachers’ lessons.  

"It ensures that students have access to grade level material and are not exposed to inappropriate or ideological content," said Abbott.

"It’s full-on censorship that bans books, that uses dangerously vague language," said Emily Witt, communications and media strategist with the Texas Freedom Network.

Witt says both bills will essentially prevent students from learning different perspectives.

"We know that when kids—especially LGBTQ kids and kids from diverse backgrounds that are Hispanic, black, all of these different backgrounds that we have here in Texas—aren’t represented in their schools, they are not as engaged in their education. And we also know that LGBTQ kids are extremely vulnerable populations," said Witt.

Emily Witt, with the Texas Freedom Network, spoke out against some of the controversial bills Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed on June 12.

The governor also signed a law that lets parents decide whether their student has to repeat a grade-level course, and another to increase special education funding.

As for the major education-related priority that didn’t make it to his desk, Abbott confirmed he will call lawmakers back to tackle school choice vouchers.

"We need to deliver on the promise to parents that parents will have the ability to choose the education pathway best for their child. We all know we're going to be coming back into another special session at the appropriate time after we complete property tax reform," said Abbott.

"It’s not what is good for our urban schools. It's not what's good for our rural schools. And public taxpayer money should go to public schools, not private and religious, unregulated schools that don't have to serve every single Texan," said Witt.