Officials at a school district near Fort Worth, Texas, have instructed school staff and librarians to temporarily remove books, including Bibles and illustrated adaptations of Anne Frank’s diary, that were challenged through the district’s formal complaints process during the previous school year.
The Keller Independent School District Board of Trustees last week passed policies that set new standards for how schools select books and other instructional materials, including subjecting books to a 30-day public review prior to library purchases and removing books from shelves. material in question at the time they are being reviewed.
“Now, the management of Keller ISD is asking our campus staff and librarians to review the books that were questioned last year to determine if they meet the requirements of the new policy,” the district said in a statement after emailing the principal of the policy was obtained by the Texas Tribune.
“All of the books included in Tuesday’s email have been included in Keller ISD’s Book Challenge list for the past year. Books that comply with the new guidelines will be returned to the library as soon as they are confirmed to be in compliance with the new policy,” the statement said.
The Keller School District allows parents, staff, and district residents to formally object or challenge the books and instructional materials used by the school. A committee will then consider the educational suitability of the materials and decide whether they will remain in school, the district’s website says.
The group may also decide to limit the use of the material to specific grades or students with parental permission.
Books challenged last year included some that explored the LGBTQ experience, such as George M. Johnson’s “All Boys Aren’t Blue,” which the committee decided to keep in high school, and Maia Kobabe’s “Gender Queer,” which, according to the district’s website, Removed from the school district campus. Tony Morrison’s novel The Bluest Eye was also challenged and reserved by the committee.
On August 8, the Board of Directors unanimously approved the new library and materials policy. The decision comes at a time when discussions about school library books and curriculum have become a key issue across the country. An April analysis by literary and free speech advocacy group PEN America found that 1,586 books were banned in 86 school districts in 26 states from July 31, 2021, to March 31, 2022. Texas leads the nation with 713 books banned, the analysis found, followed by Pennsylvania and Florida.
“We are pleased that our new school board has made these changes,” a spokesperson said in the public comment section of the Aug. 8 Keller School Board meeting. “I hope this is just the beginning.”
Wednesday was the district’s first day back to school.
Here are the top 10 books people want to remove from schools and libraries in 2020
10. “The Hate You Give” by Angie Thomas
9. “The Bluest Eye” by Tony Morrison
8. Between Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
7. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
6. “What Happened in Our Town: A Child’s Story of Racial Injustice” by Marianne Celano, Marietta Collins, and Ann Hazzard, illustrated by Jennifer Zivoin
5. Sherman Alexie’s “Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian”
4. “Speak” by Laurie Hals Anderson
3. “All American Boys” by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely
2. “Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You” by Ibram X. Kendi and Jason Reynolds
1. “George” by Alex Gino
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