Source: Georgia Howe

On March 29th, I published a piece about graphic sexual content being used in high school English classrooms in Leander Independent School District (LISD), just outside of Austin, Texas. In the wake of the story, many readers were left wondering how pornographic literature could possibly find its way into a public school curriculum, and why, once it was discovered, did parents have to fight such a fierce battle to remove it? 

Testimony from anonymous teachers during an April 8th school board meeting may provide some clues as to how this happened in Leander, and shed some light on how similar radical changes to curricula are being enforced elsewhere. (Video of the testimonies starts at about minute 16.) 

A quick recap of the LISD saga: 

In fall of 2020, according to LISD English teachers, a small group of LISD administrators made the nearly-unilateral decision to deemphasize traditional cannon literature in favor of more “diverse,” contemporary literature, which featured what many parents complained were “adult themes.” Passages in the books included graphic depictions of gang rape and references to strap-on sex toys, masturbation and ejaculation. Some of the most violent and graphic scenes involved incest and depictions of the abuse of minors, including prepubescent children. One graphic novel included demeaning images of nude women engaged in sex acts, including one on a dog leash and another being coerced at gunpoint. 

Upon learning of the content, parents complained vociferously, but were met with protest from a small group of activist teachers. In addition to being called “racists,” “homophobes,” “religious zealots,” and “bigots” for questioning the age appropriateness of the books, some of the parents who voiced their dissent received anonymous cardboard penises at their homes with Christian iconography (ex: “He has risen”). Others received pornography subscriptions to their personal emails featuring beastiality, still others received putrid food items and dead animals on their doorsteps.