As parents across the state speak out against sexually explicit materials in school libraries, Texas Scorecard reached out to all of the Republican candidates in the runoff election for the Texas Legislature to ask whether they would support closing the legal loopholes that allow graphic books on the kids’ shelves.
Texas parents have started a petition to close the obscenity exemption loophole in Texas law that allows exceptions for “educational” and “governmental” purposes. As public servants for the people, elected legislators can enact legislation that would prohibit explicit materials in the libraries of K-12 students.
This movement of parents has risen up to combat not only explicit materials but also critical race theory, harmful sexual ideologies, failing educational standards, and rampant corruption in the Texas school system.
Senate District 24
Pete Flores: “The 1973 Supreme Court ruling on Miller v. California established “community standards” as the yardstick by which obscenity is measured. That’s why parents, not school librarians and the education establishment, should have the final say in what materials are considered to be age-appropriate for their children. I will always fight for parental control over what goes on in our public schools.”
Raul Reyes: “Yes, when elected, we will push legislation to close these loopholes and ensure parents’ rights are protected.”
House District 12
Ben Bius: “Yes. I intend to fight to provide penalties to those who are producing these materials with the intent to distribute to children under 17 years old. It is not free speech, rather it is criminal to poison the minds of children below the age of consent.”
Kyle Kacal did not respond to Texas Scorecard’s inquiry.
House District 17
Paul Pape: “I will support closing this loophole. Kids should not find things in the public school library that they wouldn’t see in their parents’ library at home. Pornography is always bad, even when cloaked as art or educational material.”
Stan Gerdes did not respond to Texas Scorecard’s inquiry.
House District 19
Ellen Troxclair: “Yes, we must protect our children from pornographic and sexually explicit content in our schools. Our classrooms should be for learning and preparing students for a bright future, not providing children with access to sexually inappropriate content behind their parents’ backs. I doubt my opponent will respond to this inquiry because he is endorsed by [the American Federation of Teachers], a labor union that has endorsed both Joe Biden and Beto O’Rourke and supports teaching critical race theory and mask mandates in schools.”
Justin Berry did not respond to Texas Scorecard’s inquiry.
House District 23
Terri Leo-Wilson: “I absolutely would support closing the loopholes in Texas obscenity laws that allow explicit materials in the hands of minors. I am the only candidate in this race that has a public voting record on this very issue. I served three terms on the State Board of Education and was a watchdog over all instructional materials. I removed all obscene material as well as indoctrination, CRT, bias, anti-Americanism, and factual errors. The best way to know what a candidate will do in office on this issue in particular is to look at what they have already done.”
Patrick Gurski did not respond to Texas Scorecard’s inquiry.
House District 52
Patrick McGuinness: “In school districts in our area recently, parents raised objections to several sexually explicit books on their middle-school and high-school reading lists. Despite objections, some obscene books were kept on the lists. We should protect children from obscene materials, not push it on them in schools! So, yes, I support closing the loopholes in Texas obscenity laws to keep explicit materials out of our schools, so as to protect our kids.”
Caroline Harris: “Yes, we absolutely should close legal loopholes that currently allow pornographic materials in school. There is no reason for children to be exposed to pornographic and sexually explicit material in our schools.”
House District 60
Mike Olcott: “I absolutely support banning explicit materials in schools.”
Glenn Rogers did not respond to Texas Scorecard’s inquiry.
House District 61
Paul Chabot: “Yes, I support closing this loophole and I am grateful for those who have already done the work to identify this critical gap. I have four school-aged children and, like all good parents, I want to ensure they are safe.”
Frederick Frazier: “I fully support closing the loopholes that allow explicit materials in Texas schools and will work tirelessly to ensure our children are protected from obscenity.”
House District 63
Jeff Younger: “Anyone who provides obscene materials to children should be prosecuted under Texas Penal Code 43.24. The overbroad education exception in the law should be repealed and replaced with a narrow research exception. School administrators and librarians have abused the education exception. They are exposing impressionable Texas children to horribly obscene materials. Schools and libraries are using these materials to sexually groom children. Groomers should be jailed. This must stop, now.”
Ben Bumgarner did not respond to Texas Scorecard’s inquiry.
House District 70
Eric Bowlin: “Yes, I would support closing such loopholes. We must keep Texas children safe from inappropriate materials, and it’s going to take legislative action to make it happen. I support the Texas Legislature acting now to protect children and ensure that explicit materials never end up in the hands of Texas school children through their libraries or classrooms.”
Jamee Jolly did not respond to Texas Scorecard’s inquiry.
House District 73
Carrie Isaac: “Pornography and material of a sexual nature has no place in our libraries in our schools. I absolutely support closing loopholes in obscenity laws to keep explicit materials out of the hands of children and minors.”
Barron Casteel did not respond to Texas Scorecard’s inquiry.
House District 84
David Glasheen: “Of course I support closing any loophole allowing schools to be infiltrated with obscenities. In fact, we all have a duty to protect our children from such harmful content—not just legislators, but every citizen shares this duty.”
Carl Tepper did not respond to Texas Scorecard’s inquiry.
House District 85
Phil Stephenson: “Yes, I am for tightening the screws, so to speak. The problem to me seems to be in Texas Penal Code 43.21 (C): ‘Taken as a whole… .’ This is vague. The material is unsuitable for children to begin with, so whether it has literary, scientific, etc. merit is irrelevant. Frankly, I think we need to tier the law for minors, because what is suitable for high school age is certainly not suitable for elementary. Of course, explicit pornography shouldn’t be allowed, period; but all of this is common sense, and that’s in short supply these days.”
Stan Kitzman: “Protecting our innocent children is paramount. Children should be left to be children. We must make sure that they are protected from predatory practices.”
House District 91
David Lowe: “Yes. I look forward to working closely with parents to make sure that our children are protected from inappropriate material in the classrooms. I also support greater transparency for parents in the reading materials that are made available to their children.”
Stephanie Klick did not respond to Texas Scorecard’s inquiry.
House District 93
Laura Hill: “I strongly support keeping explicit materials out of the hands of minors.”
Nate Schatzline: “We must protect our children at all costs. There is no reason for our children to have access to pornographic and sexually explicit material in their schools. As a Texas Legislature, we have the responsibility and duty to pass legislation that would prevent this from happening. If legislation has passed and children still have access to this material, we must figure out how to close the loopholes within said legislation and hold school districts accountable for carrying out the law. This should and will be a top priority for me.”
House District 122
Mark Dorazio: “Yes. I would work to close the loopholes that allow explicit materials in schools.”
Elisa Chan did not respond to Texas Scorecard’s inquiry.
House District 133
Mano DeAyala: “Yes.”
Shelley Torian Barineau: “I would absolutely support legislation that keeps the children of Texas safe from obscene materials and pornographic books. Any loopholes that exist to allow pornography, gender theory, or any other radical efforts to indoctrinate our kids must be closed. Parents must be allowed transparency and an efficient and effective avenue of redress to call out inappropriate materials to the attention of their local school administrators and board members, and demand removal of the materials. I would also support any legislation that calls for an internet safety policy to protect against pornography or any harmful content online.”
Updated since publication to include Frederick Frazier’s response.