Christian Curriculum

A Texas school district removes and revises dozens of disputed books, including the Bible and an adaptation of Anne Frank

By Andy Rose and Elizabeth Wolfe, CNN

Officials at a school district near Fort Worth, Texas, have ordered school staff and librarians to temporarily remove books that have been challenged through the district’s official complaint process over the past school year, including the Bible and an illustrated adaptation of Anne Frank’s diary.

The Keller Independent School District Board of Trustees passed policies last week that set new standards for how books and other learning materials are chosen for schools, including subjecting books to a 30-day public review. days before they are purchased by libraries and removing the disputed material from the shelves. while they are under review.

“Right now, the Keller ISD administration is asking our staff and campus librarians to review books that were challenged in the past year to determine if they meet the requirements of the new policy,” said the school district in a statement after an email sent to principals about the policy was obtained by the Texas Tribune newspaper.

“All of the books included in Tuesday’s email have been included in the Keller ISD Book Challenge list within the past year. Books that meet the new guidelines will be returned to libraries as soon as it is confirmed that they comply with the new policy,” the statement read.

The Keller School District allows parents, employees, and district residents to file formal objections or challenges to books and instructional materials used in schools. A committee then reviews whether the materials are educationally appropriate and decides whether the materials will remain in schools, the district’s website says.

The group may also decide to limit the use of the material to particular grade levels or to students who obtain parental permission.

Books that have been challenged over the past year include some that explore LGBTQ experiences, such as George M. Johnson’s “All Boys Aren’t Blue,” which the committee decided to keep in high schools, and “Gender Queer” by Maia Kobabe, which has been removed from district campuses, according to the district’s website. Toni Morrison’s novel “The Bluest Eye” was also challenged and upheld by the committee.

The new library and educational materials policies were unanimously approved by the board on August 8th. The decision came as discussions about books and school library programs have become key issues across the country. An April analysis by PEN America, an advocacy organization for literature and free speech, found that 1,586 books were banned in 86 school districts in 26 states from July 31, 2021 through March 31, 2022. The Texas led the country with the most book bans at 713, according to the analysis, followed by Pennsylvania and Florida.

“We are very pleased that our new, unawakened school board has made these changes,” a speaker said during the public comment portion of the August 8 Keller school board meeting. “This is just the beginning, I hope.”

Wednesday is the first day back to school for the district.

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