In the Spotlight
The district has already taken action to remove several books with LGBTQ themes and characters, but Karen Lowery took it upon herself to review more titles.
Author: William Joy (WFAA)
Published: 7:13 PM CDT August 22, 2023
Updated: 7:13 PM CDT August 22, 2023
GRANBURY, Texas — Granbury ISD’s school board will vote Wednesday on whether to discipline one of its members.
Karen Lowery is accused of violating district policy by going to Granbury High School’s library without permission and personally looking through books to see if they should be removed.
Granbury ISD got attention for removing books last spring after ProPublica shared a secret recording of Superintendent Dr. Jeremey Glenn talking about the district being conservative.
“If it’s not what you believe, you better hide it because it ain’t changing,” Glenn is heard saying on that tape, justifying his desire to remove LGBTQ-focused books from the school’s libraries.
“It’s the transgender, LGBTQ and the sex — sexuality — in books,” Glenn said in that recording. “That’s what the governor has said that he will prosecute people for, and that’s what we’re pulling out.”
Lowery campaigned on the same issue Glenn was recorded speaking to — but she didn’t think the district was going far enough, and had expressed concerns about what books remained in libraries.
Video that Granbury ISD released this week through an open records request shows Lowery and another woman, who the district said is not an employee or parent, walking into a dark library around 9 a.m. on August 2 while school was still out of session for summer break.
Their planning for the visit began weeks earlier.
WFAA obtained a recording of a July meeting between Lowery, school board member Melanie Graft and their attorney, along with Glenn and school board president Barbara Herrington. The meeting was to discuss training that Graft and Lowery said wasn’t properly documented, as well as library books and curriculums.
Early in the meeting, Glenn can be heard becoming frustrated with the attorney.
“First of all, this isn’t your meeting,” Glenn says. “I didn’t know you were coming, and I’m not going to have an attorney backtalk me — so, you can leave.”
Lowery later talks about concerns of pornography in libraries and in links on the district website.
“We have opened the door for the evil to come through,” she said.
Then she asks about wanting to inspect what’s in district libraries.
“As a trustee, I can go into any library in any school at any time — is that correct?”, Lowery asks.
“Yes,” Glenn says in response. “Yes.”
“I will go sit down and write you down all the titles that I find in there, because Leah will not give us the titles,” Lowery says.
“You can’t go into a school at any time, but clear it with the principal,” school board president Barbara Herrington then clarifies.
“Call and make an appointment,” Glenn adds.
Now, Lowery is accused of never making any such appointment.
Both Lowery and the district declined interviews Tuesday, but in a text Lowery said that her “long-term goal remains the same, to protect the hearts and minds of children in GISD.”
Wednesday’s meeting, where her peers will vote on whether to discipline her, will also be the first time Lowery will speak publicly about what happened and share her version of events from August 2.