As parents across the state fight against pornographic books, critical race theory, and poor educational outcomes in their children’s public schools, a new statewide poll shows Texans are increasingly interested in holding teachers accountable for exposing children to explicit material.

Earlier this week, the Defend Texas Liberty PAC released a poll documenting the opinions of more than 1,500 Texas Republican primary voters, including questions surrounding Texas teachers’ classroom performance.

One question asked voters if they “believe Texas teachers who intentionally expose children to pornographic material should have their teaching license permanently revoked?” In response, 88 percent of respondents agreed, 5 percent disagreed, and 7 percent were unsure.

The fight over public school curricula has intensified since virtual schooling during the COVID-19 pandemic allowed parents more access to materials assigned to their children. They soon discovered sexually explicit books like “Gender Queer” and “Lawn Boy” available in high school and middle school libraries across the state. Although some districts removed the obscene materials, others continue exposing children to explicit books.

Recently, Texas Education Agency Commissioner Mike Morath testified to the Texas House Public Education Committee that after reviewing materials from school districts, the agency found “materials made available to students that I think the common citizen would agree would be inappropriate.”

Additionally, increased attention on Texas public schools revealed numerous cases of teachers acting inappropriately with students, including a Garland ISD teacher caught in a “sting” operation trying to meet a 14 year-old-boy for sex and a Lovejoy ISD high school teacher who sent a student inappropriate text messages.

Parents have also caught teachers across the state exposing young students to LGBT behaviors and gender confusion. In March, Austin ISD held a district-wide “PRIDE week,” which included lesson plans telling students as young as 4 years old to keep secrets from their parents. Later in the year, an Austin ISD teacher showed her fourth-grade students a video of a drag queen discussing his sexuality with children and encouraging them to perform in drag shows.

When asked if teachers should be “required to affirm that there are only two genders before they are allowed to teach Texas children,” 74 percent of respondents agreed, 17 percent disagreed, and 9 percent were unsure.

At the Republican Party of Texas Convention in June, delegates created a legislative priority to “Stop Sexualizing Texas Kids.” The priority calls for the state to “prohibit teaching, exposure, and/or discussion of sexual matters (mechanics, feelings, orientation, or ‘gender identity’ issues), and prohibit use or provision of related books and other materials using criminal, civil or other enforcement measures.”

With the next legislative session less than six months away, lawmakers will have to decide whether they will follow the lead of Republican voters and craft legislation protecting Texas children from indoctrination and sexualization.

Katy Marshall

Katy graduated from Tarleton State University in 2021 after majoring in history and minoring in political science.