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Feds target Texas school district with ‘first-of-its-kind’ investigation into removal of LGBTQ books

The federal government is launching a "first-of-its-kind" investigation into a Texas school district after the superintendent lobbied to remove some LGBTQ content.

The federal government is launching an investigation into a Texas school district after the superintendent lobbied for the removal of LGBTQ library books. 

Described as a "first-of-its-kind" investigation by the Texas Tribune, the effort by the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights is backed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). 

The Tribune article stated, "The ACLU complaint was based largely on an investigation published in March by NBC News, ProPublica and the Tribune that revealed that [Granbury Independent School District] superintendent, Jeremy Glenn, instructed librarians to remove books dealing with sexual orientation and people who are transgender." 

The district is accused of violating Title IX, which protects students from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

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The investigation is built on leaked recordings of Glenn telling librarians back in January, "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."

According to the ACLU, the comments by Glenn, as well as the attempts at removing certain books, have created a "pervasively hostile" environment for LGBTQ students. If the investigation finds a violation of student rights at the schools, "the agency can require the district to make policy changes and submit to federal monitoring.

The Tribune article conceded that the federal government’s decision to go after the school district is all built on the "somewhat novel" case from the ACLU. "Education and legal experts said the Education Department’s decision to open an investigation in Granbury is significant because it sets up a test of a somewhat novel legal argument by the ACLU: the idea that book removals themselves can create a hostile environment for certain classes of students," the article said. 

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Fox News reached out to Granbury Independent School District for comment about the federal government’s investigation but has not heard back. 

In January 2022, as noted by the Tribune, a volunteer review committee voted to return "all but a few of the titles" to the library shelves. Books voted for removal included "This Book is Gay," "Out of Darkness" and "We Are the Ants," all for sexually explicit content. 

Books returned to the school, among others, included "Being Jazz: My Life as a (Transgender) Teen," "Queer, There, and Everywhere: 23 People Who Changed the World" and "Safe Sex 101: An Overview for Teens." 

However, Karen Lowery, who won a seat on the school board last month, said on Dec. 12 her goal was the removal all "obscene" books. 

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