Texas School District Removes Bible and Anne Frank Adaptations in Back-to-School Sweep
A day before students in North Texas returned to classrooms, a school district ordered principals and librarians to remove books, including the Bible and the graphic novel adaptation of Anne Frank’s “The Diary of a Young Girl,” from libraries and classrooms.
The Keller Independent School District reviewed 41 challenging books during the last school year, but a policy approved by the school district’s board of trustees last week requires staff to pull books from shelves so they can be reviewed again Can you
A last-minute book sweep is one of several changes in schools across the country that will restrict students’ access to books in the new school year. Parents, school board officials and lawmakers have recently challenged the book at a pace not seen in years, with some of the most scrutinized books dealing with sexual and racial identities.
The Keller School District serves more than 35,000 students in a portion of Fort Worth and other North Texas cities. Wednesday was the district’s first day of school. On Tuesday, a school administrator sent an email, shared with The New York Times, asking principals and librarians to remove some of the books that had been challenged by the end of the day. The list included Toni Morrison’s “The Bluest Eye”.
According to an online record on the district’s website, some books, including “The Bluest Eye” and the Anne Frank Diary adaptation, were approved by a committee and allowed to remain in libraries after being challenged during the previous school year. . Other books, including Maiya Kobabe’s “Gender Queer”, were removed from the district’s collection or allowed only in high school libraries or specific parts of campus after an initial review.
These books will be reviewed again. The district’s seven-member board of trustees adopted a new policy on August 8 that requires the district to reconsider every book challenged in the previous year. The district said in a statement that the guidelines – which will be used to determine whether books are allowed on the shelves – will be considered by the board at its next meeting to be held on August 22. For students, those books are in limbo now.
“Once implemented, our librarians will be able to use those guidelines to review books that were challenged,” the statement said. “As soon as a book is approved through the new guidelines, it will be returned to the shelf.”
The district said that the trustees were not available for the interview on Wednesday morning.
The chairman of the board of trustees, Charles Randclaw, said in a Facebook post that the review was needed “to protect children from explicit sexual content”. They wrote that the previous review process “exposed children to pornographic material.”
“The challenge process for these materials will go through a committee composed of community and staff members, which will be open to the public and video and audio will be recorded,” said Dr. Randclave wrote.
Lani Howes, a parent of four children in the district, said she was one of about seven or eight people on the review committee for an Anne Frank graphic novel. He said the committee members read the book, talked about its value for about 40 minutes and unanimously decided that it should remain on school shelves.
“We left that room thinking we’ve saved it, we’ve saved this book,” said Ms. Haus. “Only for it to come back several months later and be told, ‘No, we don’t like your results, so now we’re going to re-review each book according to our strict list of requirements’.”
Efforts have always existed to remove books from libraries, bookstores and schools, but teachers, librarians, parents and politicians have said that the ban on books is becoming more and more common. Tactics have also changed, with conservative groups supporting these efforts, especially in political races.
In North Texas, Patriot Mobile Action, a new Christian political action committee, supported 11 school board candidates who won their elections. Three of those candidates started serving in the Keller School District Board in May 2022.
Jonathan Friedman, director of free expression and education programs at Penn America, a free speech organization, said in a statement that the Keller school board’s decision was a “horrendous disgrace to students’ First Amendment rights.”
“It is almost impossible to run a school or library purging books in response to any complaint from any corner,” Mr. Friedman said.
In the coming weeks, students across the country will return to school and face teachers battling new restrictions created by renewed pressure to ban books.
In Florida, some schools are debating how certain books adhere to a new law, known by opponents as “Don’t Say Gay”, which restricts classroom instruction and changes to sexual orientation and gender identity. interrupts the discussion.
In a Virginia school district, parents will receive a notification when their child checks out a book from the school library and will be asked to sign a consent form after receiving a curriculum that lists assigned readings. does.