On March 19, 2023, several candidates running for Plano City Council and Plano ISD board of trustees met for a forum at the East Plano Islamic Center.
According to the Dallas Observer, a video from the event showed Margaret Turner-Carrigan, Lydia Ortega and Tarrah Lantz, the candidates for Plano ISD’s Place 4, seated next to one another.
In the video, a member of the audience asked the candidates what Plano ISD is doing to ensure safety in regard to the amount of gun violence in U.S. schools.
Turner-Carrigan answered first, her solution is to work with law enforcement to find a “workable system” while also looking after mental health needs. But the next candidate’s answer was very different than her counterparts.
Days after a Plano ISD student overdosed on fentanyl, Ortega said the real drug is “pornography” in Plano ISD’s books.
“I think the biggest problem we’re having is with drugs in the schools,” Ortega said. “I don’t mean fentanyl drugs, I mean the drug called pornography. That’s an addictive drug that destroys the brain, and I think that it needs to be removed so that we have children that cannot access this reading material until they’re age-appropriate, so, inshallah (if Allah wills it), I will work to do that.”
For the past two years, book bans in North Texas schools have been a hot topic. Frisco ISD for example, promised to review a million books in their library, removing any that contain sexually explicit or obscene content.
"In Plano ISD, student health and safety are a top priority," Assistant Director of Communications Zoheb Hassanali told Local Profile. "We recognize that there are many concerns that our students face and our district has a wide range of programs and resources in place to address these concerns. As a school district, we are committed to working with our families and community to create a safe and healthy environment for all students."
Ortega ran unsuccessfully for Plano mayor in 2021, collecting less than 4% of the final votes.
Local Profile reached out to Ortega for comment. This story will be updated pending a response.