Texas textbooks: Keller parents challenge 33, including the Bible
The topic was not on the agenda, but during public comments they expressed concerns about books they consider sexually explicit.
KELLER, Texas — Parents put books front and center at the Keller Independent School District school board meeting Monday night.
The topic, which has sparked debate across Texas, was not on the agenda, but during public comments they expressed concerns about books they consider sexually explicit and want the district remove them from school libraries.
This isn’t the first time parents have talked about the books their children have access to at Keller schools. They have been going to meetings since October 2021, asking school leaders to take action.
Frustrated parents pointed out that other districts had handled similar situations and told the board they weren’t listening to their concerns.
“Why are we here? We are angry,” said one parent. “We are fed up with the pornographic material that is still in our libraries accessible to our children.
Another parent told the council that he “holds you accountable for failing to protect our students and we will address that in the next election.”
Parents and community members have challenged 33 books at Keller schools since October, all of which are being reviewed by a district-formed book committee. The disputed books included “Anne Frank’s Diary: The Graphic Adaptation”, the Bible and “The Bluest Eye” by Toni Morrison.
“The Bluest Eye” was retained in schools after review by the committee. The parent who first challenged the Bible later withdrew their challenge. A second challenge is pending consideration. “Anne Frank’s Diary: The Graphic Adaptation” is also on hold.
Of the 33 disputed titles, 10 have been withdrawn from circulation and several others are still awaiting review.
Among the books withdrawn from circulation are: “Panic”, by Sharon Draper; “Jack of Hearts (and Other Parts)” by LC Rosen; “Flamer” by Mike Curato; and “Gender Queer”, by Maia Kobabe.
The Keller ISD School Board has not voted or made a decision on the books in question, although each challenged book is reviewed by the district’s Book Challenge Committee.
According to the department’s website, anyone can “make a formal objection to an educational resource” in the district. For book challenges, the committee will review the book “in its entirety” and then determine whether the book should be removed from circulation.
In some cases, books have been restricted to high school libraries, rather than all levels of the district.
The district also offers parents several opt-out options when it comes to the books their children have access to.
The debate over Keller’s books comes at a time of division in education in Texas, as school districts and officials have been accused of teaching critical race theory and allowing LGBTQ-related books to school.
Michael Hinojosa, the superintendent of the Dallas Independent School District, recently called the Critical Race Theory attacks a “fabricated crisis” that “isn’t real.”
“This is a national playbook written by really smart, organized people who pay people to go out and create havoc,” Hinojosa said during a roundtable with fellow superintendents in Austin this month. -this.
Jeannie Stone, the former superintendent of Richardson, said she spent a day going through disputed books in her district. What she found were “books that include the students in our schools,” she said during the roundtable.