The Bible and 40 other books have been pulled from shelves in a Texas school district after administrators decided to subject them to further review. The content of each of the removed books was challenged by a parent, lawmaker or other community member sometime in the past year, according to USA Today.
People “have been challenging books at higher rates as conservative lawmakers raise concerns about what students are being taught in schools about topics such as race, sexuality, and gender identity,” USA Today reported.
The Deseret News covered this trend in March, noting that school districts and state legislatures across the country are debating whether to protect schoolchildren from sensitive or concerning (at least to some) material.
“What you’re seeing is how much we do not trust teachers to have the expertise in what they do. It’s really the job of the teacher to say, ‘This is the best book for my curriculum and this is how I’m teaching it,’” said Emily Knox, an associate professor at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign who studies intellectual freedom and censorship, to the Deseret News at the time.
In Keller Independent School District in Texas, administrators fielded dozens of complaints over the past school year and reviewed 41 books, including an adaptation of Anne Frank’s “The Diary of a Young Girl” and Toni Morrison’s “The Bluest Eye,” as a result.
Those same books are now being reconsidered at the start of the district’s 2022-23 school year.
“A policy approved by the school district’s board of trustees last week requires staff to pull the books from shelves so that they can be reviewed again,” The New York Times reported.
One of the parents involved in the initial review of graphic novel adaptation of Anne Frank’s book told the Times that she’s was frustrated by recent developments.
“We left that room thinking we saved it, we saved this book,” said Laney Hawes. “Only for this many months later to come back and be told, ‘No, we don’t like your outcome, so we are now going to re-review every book according to our strict list of requirements.’”
Charles Randklev, president of the district’s board of trustees, said on Facebook that the new review is needed to protect kids from “sexually-explicit content.” He also criticized headlines claiming the district had fully banned books like the Bible.
“The recent reporting by media that Keller ISD is banning the Bible and ‘Anne Frank’ is false. The district will be reviewing those books per updated policy using content guidelines pending board approval,” he said.