The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights confirmed on Dec. 6 that it is opening an investigation into allegations of sex discrimination in the Granbury Independent School District, following a complaint filed last July by the ACLU of Texas.
The ACLU’s complaint claims that anti-LGBTQ comments made by GISD Superintendent Jeremy Glenn and the district’s subsequent decision to remove certain books from school libraries “constituted unlawful sex discrimination under Title IX and created a hostile environment for LGBTQIA+ students,” according to an ACLU of Texas press release.
According to a March 23 report by The Texas Tribune, Glenn called a group of GISD school librarians into a district meeting in early January this year, before students returned from the winter break, and told them that Granbury is “very, very conservative,” and that any GISD employee who had different beliefs “better hide it. Here in this community, we’re going to be conservative.
According to a recording of the meeting, Glenn went on to say, “I don’t want a kid picking up a book, whether it’s about homosexuality or heterosexuality, and reading about how to hook up sexually in our libraries.” Then he added that he was specifically included any books with LGBTQ themes, even if those books did not include any descriptions of sex.
Glenn continued, “And I’m going to take it a step further with you. There are two genders. There’s male, and there’s female. And I acknowledge that there are men that think they’re women. And there are women that think they’re men. And again, I don’t have any issues with what people want to believe, but there’s no place for it in our libraries.”
And when asked whether books on racism were acceptable in the libraries, books on different cultures “are great. Specifically, what we’re getting at, let’s call it what it is, and I’m cutting to the chase on a lot of this. It’s the transgender, LGBTQ and the sex — sexuality — in books. That’s what the governor has said that he will prosecute people for, and that’s what we’re pulling out.”
Over the next two weeks, GISD officials pulled about 130 titles from school libraries “for review,” most of which addressed LGBTQ themes and issues. Others discussed racism, sex education, abortion and women’s rights, the Tribune reported.
The Office of Civil Rights notified ACLU of Texas that it has requested “documentation and information” from GISD, and that OCR has “jurisdiction to process this complaint under Title IX” because GISD receives federal funding.
ACLU of Texas attorney Chloe Kempf said, “Public school districts cannot discriminate against students on the basis of sex, gender identity or sexual orientation. By choosing to open this investigation in response to our complaint, the federal government is signaling that remedying discrimination against LGBTQIA+ students is a top priority and that school districts cannot deny students the right to be themselves in school, be it through book bans, discriminatory comments, or other harmful policies.”
— Tammye Nash