Story at a glance
- The Keller Independent Schools District, located north of Fort Worth, has ordered 41 book titles to be removed from school libraries.
- The titles include the Bible, a graphic novel adaptation of Anne Frank’s “The Diary of a Young Girl,” and Toni Morrison’s “The Bluest Eye.”
- Principals were ordered to remove the books before students return to class next week.
A Texas school district has ordered over 40 books to be pulled from library shelves before students return to classes this fall.
Keller Independent School District officials are removing all books that were challenged last year from schools, a list that includes all versions of the Bible and a graphic novel of Anne Frank’s “The Diary of a Young Girl.”
The Texas Tribune was the first to report the school district’s decision this week.
“Attached is a list of all books that were challenged last year. By the end of today, I need all books pulled from the library and classrooms. Please collect these books and store them in a location. (book room, office, etc.),” said Jennifer Price, executive director of Keller ISD’s curriculum and instruction, in an email to district principals, according to the Tribune.
The email contained a list of 41 books to be taken off library shelves.
Last year an unprecedented number of attempts to ban books took place across the country. In 2021, there were 1,597 books challenged, the highest the organization has seen since it began tracking library, school and university material challenges. Most of the works that have been targeted are about Black or LGBTQ+ people.
Several of the books named in Price’s email were some of last year’s most challenged titles, including the book “Gender Queer: A Memoir,” by Maia Kobabe and “The Bluest Eye,” by Toni Morrison.
The Keller Independent School District’s website keeps a list of all books that parents or community members have issued a complaint about. District officials have posted a decision on what to do with each book on the list as well.
For example, next to the Bible, the district notes that the complaint against the book was dropped by a parent last December and that “The Bluest Eye” will remain in its current location.
But due to a new rule rolled out last week, all 41 books were removed from shelves.
“Keller ISD’s Board of Trustees approved policies EFA (Local) and EFB (Local) at its August 8, 2022, Special Meeting. These policies relate to the acquisition and review of instructional materials and library books. Right now, Keller ISD’s administration is asking our campus staff and librarians to review books that were challenged last year to determine if they meet the requirements of the new policy,” Keller ISD said in a statement.
“All of the books included in Tuesday’s email have been included on Keller ISD’s Book Challenge list over the past year. Books that meet the new guidelines will be returned to the libraries as soon as it is confirmed they comply with the new policy.”
READ MORE STORIES FROM CHANGING AMERICA