'It's the transgender, LGBTQ': Secret recording busts school superintendent ordering removal of books

'It's the transgender, LGBTQ': Secret recording busts school superintendent ordering removal of books
Image via screengrab.

A Texas schools superintendent was secretly recorded telling librarians to pull off shelves books related to LGBTQ people and issues, and other books that “do not conform,” whether they like it or not, because the county is “conservative,” and he was getting complaints. Shortly after, the school district pulled 130 titles, mostly with LGBTQ themes, according to a report by NBC News, The Texas Tribune, and ProPublica.

A 10-minute video (below), published by NBC News, includes some of the remarks made in January by Granbury, Texas schools superintendent Dr. Jeremy Glenn, including when he directs librarians to remove from shelves any of 850 books identified as unacceptable by Texas GOP state Rep. Matt Krause. Krause is a far right-wing lawmaker who previously worked at Liberty Counsel, which appears on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s list of anti-LGBTQ hate groups.

“We are going to pull books off the shelves, especially any of the 850 books that were put forth by Rep. Krause,” Glenn can be heard saying in the secret recording, “we will pull any of those books in our library, plus any that we think do not conform.”

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Glenn opened up the meeting with librarians by saying, “I want to talk with you about our community. If you do not know this, you’ve been probably under a rock.”

“Granbury is in a very, very conservative community. And our board is very, very conservative.”

Glenn told librarians if they held any political views that were not conservative, they had “better hide it.”

“In the days that followed,” according to the report, “the district embarked on one of the largest mass book removals in the state, pulling 130 titles, most of which featured LGBTQ characters or themes.”

“And I’m going to take it a step further with you,” Glenn can also be heard saying in the recording. “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.”

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“Later in the meeting,” the report states, “Glenn clarified that he was specifically focused on removing books geared toward queer students: ‘It’s the transgender, LGBTQ and the sex — sexuality — in books,’ he said, according to the recording.”

Now, following a complaint filed by the ACLU of Texas and reporting by NBC News, ProPublica and The Texas Tribune, the U.S. Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights has launched an investigation into the North Texas school district, the report adds.

The ACLU “accused the district of violating a federal law that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender.”

ACLU attorney Chloe Kempf says Glenn’s comments and the district pulling LGBTQ-themed books have created a “pervasively hostile” environment for LGBTQ students.

“These comments, combined with the book removals, really send a message to LGBTQ students in the districts that: ‘You don’t belong here. Your existence is shameful. It should be censored.’”

One nonbinary Granbury High School student said, “I don’t feel incredibly safe or welcomed by a large majority of the students at my school,” and they said they don’t report harassment because they don’t feel their complaints will be taken seriously.

“I’ve been called slurs. I’ve been verbally attacked. I’ve been physically attacked. But it kind of feels worse when the attacks are coming from adults, from the people who are supposed to keep us safe.”

Read the entire report here, and listen to the audio from Superintendent Glenn below or at this link.

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