A Texas school district removed dozens of disputed books from its library shelves, including the Bible, just before the start of the school year under a new policy introduced by conservative leaders.
“Enclosed you will find a list of all the books that have been challenged in the last year. By the end of today, I need all the books pulled from the library and classrooms,” Keller Independent School District Curriculum Executive Director Jennifer Price said. to principals in an email on Tuesday, obtained by The Texas Grandstand. “Once this operation is complete, please send me a confirmation by e-mail. We need to make sure this action is taken by the end of the day.
The books were seized due to a new compliance policy the school district board passed Aug. 8. local outlet WFAA Dallas reported. According The Dallas Morning News, Keller’s spokesperson Bryce Nieman said the new policy requires that every previously challenged book go through a review process. Keller’s Associate Superintendent John Allison said each book would be returned to its respective library if found to meet district guidelines. However, officials say they don’t know how long the process may take.
Forty-two books in total, including the Bible, a graphic novel adaptation of Anne Frank’s diary, The bluest eye by Toni Morrison, and Gender Queer: A Memoir by Maia Kobabe – were removed from school shelves despite some of them having already been approved by authorities to remain in circulation.
According to neighborhood list disputed books, a relative in November 2021 worried about “any variation” of the Bible written by “men who lived long ago”. The parent withdrew their challenge in December. However, another parent challenged the Bible in February 2022. After the council reviewed it, members initially found that it would remain at the library’s current location.
Diary of Anne Frank: the graphic adaptationreworked by Ari Folman and illustrated by David Polonsky, was challenged by a relative in February 2022, but the board also initially decided that it would remain in its current location.
Both books were pulled for reconsideration on Tuesday due to new district policies.
According to Grandstand, conservative district administrators Joni Shaw Smith, Sandi Walker and Micah Young voted unanimously in the spring to change the district’s book policy. Trustees were elected to the school board in the spring and reportedly received financial contributions from Christian political groups.
“These books went through the official challenge committee process established by the district. But because they all passed the committee process, our extremist Christian nationalist school board decided the process was ‘rigged,’” member of the book committee and parent Laney Hawes wrote in a Twitter thread. “It’s a violation of our children [sic] constitutional rights”.
“I want to make it clear that administrators, teachers, librarians and staff are NOT responsible for the extremist takeover and banning of books in @KellerISD,” Hawes continued. “It’s our…extremist school board members who are funded by right-wing PACs. They’ve brought the political culture wars to my kids.”
The Keller Independent School District did not immediately respond to The Daily Beast’s request for comment on Wednesday.