State lawmaker says schools removing books aren’t censorship

Keller ISD has released 41 books, including the Bible and an adaptation of “The Diary of Anne Frank”.

FORT WORTH, Texas — Some Texas public school libraries are now on the front lines in the ongoing culture wars.

Keller ISD officials pulled 41 books from shelves across the district for further examination after being challenged by parents. This includes the Bible and “Anne Frank’s Diary: The Graphic Adaptation”.

State Rep. Matt Krause is the state legislator who launched his own investigation into the books last fall when he asked schools if they had some 850 titles on their campuses. Many titles taken from Keller were also on his list.

RELATED: Texas Books Survey: What Are the Consequences if a District Has One of the 800 Identified Titles? The rep leading the charge won’t say

The Fort Worth Republican says he doesn’t see this as subjective censorship, but rather as a fair balance for our children.

“I think it’s always a good idea to make sure the books that are on your school library shelves are appropriate and age-appropriate,” Rep. Krause said on Inside Texas Politics. “And as you and I have talked about, what is appropriate at a Keller ISD high school may not be appropriate at a Keller ISD middle school. So I think you still have these conversations. I think they are constructive.

As for the Bible, Rep. Krause doesn’t think it will stay on the shelves for long. He thinks it was a tit for tat type challenge, where a parent or group said if you take books from our side, we’ll take books from your side.

But the Republican also strongly believes that these decisions should remain local, even if in the future a new school board decides to make the Bible ban permanent.

“We have always said that the power of what should or should not be in these libraries belongs to local communities. And you’re right, maybe five, 10 years from now, Keller ISD, the parents, the taxpayers, the school board, the superintendent all decide that it shouldn’t be in our libraries. It should be up to them,” he told us.

The Republican also says he expects state lawmakers to consider more laws regarding library books when they return to Austin in January. He says they too have to find a balance.

“You want to make sure you continue to allow that autonomy and that community contribution. But I think the legislature will take a look at it,” Krause said. “It can be guiding standards, guiding principles of what you should be doing, and then the specifics will be worked out by individual school districts.”

Rep. Krause himself won’t be here in January. He is leaving office after giving up his seat to run for Tarrant County District Attorney. But he lost in a second round to Phil Sorrells.


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