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Students in the Keller Independent School District outside of Fort Worth, Texas returned to school on Wednesday. But instead of focusing on their return, much of the attention was focused on an email sent the day before asking school staff to remove all copies of a list of more than 40 books. classrooms and school libraries.
Books that have been ripped include the graphic novel adaptation of Anne Frank’s Diary, all versions of the Bible, and many books with LGBTQ+ themes or characters. The school board did not say why the Bible and the Anne Frank book were removed, but the parents objected, according to the listing.
The books on the list have been challenged in the district in the past and while some have been reviewed and returned to the shelves, they must all undergo another review under new criteria set by the school board, the school district said in a statement to NPR. .
“Right now, Keller ISD administration is asking our staff and campus librarians to review books that were challenged in the last year to determine if they meet the requirements of the new policy,” a- he declared.
“All of the books included in Tuesday’s email have been included on the Keller ISD Book Challenge list for the past year. Books that meet the new guidelines will be returned to libraries as soon as it is available. confirmed that they comply with the new policy.”
Some of the new school board members were supported by Patriot Mobile Action, a conservative Christian political action committee, the PAC said in a news release.
It’s not entirely clear to parents how the new policy will work, they told NPR. The Texas Grandstand reports that Keller ISD’s new policies are based on a model from the Texas Education Agency and that ultimately school board members have the ability to accept or reject any material.
Some parents fear banning books for everyone
Laney Hawes is a parent of four district children ranging in grades one through nine. She said she understands and agrees with parents who don’t want their children to read age-inappropriate material. But she doesn’t think that’s the right way to go.
“All of our kids are able and capable and ready for different materials,” Hawes said. “Not everyone is ready for the same thing. I agree with that, and I think those decisions should be made by parents for their own children in particular. I don’t think some materials that you do not deem appropriate for your children should also be denied to my children.”
Hawes is part of a group of parents who have become more involved in the district in recent years. Hawes and another parent, Gretchen Veling, both volunteered to be part of the group that reviewed the books when challenged.
Some of the books have already been reviewed and re-shelf under the old policy
Hawes participated in the review of Diary of Anne Frank: the graphic adaptation, while Veling was part of the group that examined Flamethe semi-autobiographical graphic novel by Mike Curato.
Both books have been discussed over the past year by parents, librarians and teachers who have all chosen to keep the books on the shelves. But with the books back in the works, there’s no guarantee they’ll be made available to students.
Veling said she first got involved with the book review committee when she realized that many of the contested titles were LGBTQ+ books. She said her two sons were openly gay and usually when they wanted to read a book, she bought it for them. But her concern is for children who might not have the same support at home.
“If they don’t have access to a book that reflects who they are, does that continue to make them feel like they’re in a homophobic zone? So I started speaking out because of that” , said Veling. “It’s for all the other kids who won’t have access to it, who really need it.”
Keller ISD did not say if there was a timeline for when the book reviews end. But in the meantime, Hawes said she believes the school board will continue to implement conservative Christian policies.
“They really, really want to attack our curriculum and make sure that no social-emotional learning ever enters our curriculum,” Hawes said, adding that there are two other school board positions up for election in May. next.