Book ban backfires as independent school district of Kellar, Texas is forced to take out the Bible, the Anne Frank book

A Texas school district pulled dozens of contested books from its library shelves — including the Bible — just before the start of the school year under a new policy instituted by conservative leaders.

“Enclosed is a list of all the books that were challenged last year. I have to get all the books out of the library and classrooms by the end of the day,” Jennifer Price, the Keller Independent School District’s executive curriculum director, told principals in an email Tuesday received by The Texas Tribune. “Once this is complete, please email me a confirmation. We must ensure that action is taken by the end of today.”

The books were snapped due to a new compliance policy the board passed on Aug. 8, local outlet WFAA Dallas reported. Corresponding The Dallas Morning News, Keller spokesman Bryce Nieman said the county’s new policy requires that any book, once contested, go through a review process. Keller Associate Superintendent John Allison told the outlet that each book would be returned to its respective library once it was determined to meet district guidelines. However, officials say they don’t know how long the process will take.

Forty-two books in all – including the Bible, a graphic novel adaptation of The diary of Anne Frank, The bluest eye by Toni Morrison and Gender Queer: A Memoir by Maia Kobabe – were stolen from school shelves, although some of them were previously approved by officials to remain in precinct traffic.

According to the district’s list of offending books, in November 2021, a parent raised concerns about “every variation” of the Bible written by “men who lived long ago.” The parent withdrew his challenge in December. However, another parent questioned the Bible in February 2022. After the board reviewed it, members initially noted that it would remain in the library at its current location.

Anne Frank’s Diary: The Graphic Adaptationrevised by Ari Folman and illustrated by David Polonsky, was challenged by a parent in February 2022, but the board also initially decided it would remain in its current location.

Both books were withdrawn for reconsideration Tuesday due to the district’s new guidelines.

According to that tribuneConservative district administrators Joni Shaw Smith, Sandi Walker and Micah Young voted unanimously in the spring to change the district’s book policy. The trustees were elected by the school board in the spring and are said to have received financial support from Christian political groups.

“These books went through the official review board set up by the district. But because they all passed the committee process, our extremist Christian nationalist school board decided the process was ‘rigged’,” book committee member and parent Laney Hawes wrote in a Twitter thread. “This is a violation of our children’s rights [sic] fundamental rights”.

“I want to clarify that the admins, teachers, librarians and staff are NOT responsible for the extremist takeover and book ban in @KellerISD.” Hawes continued. “It is [sic] our…extremist school board members funded by right-wing PACs. They brought the political culture wars to my children.”

Keller Independent School District did not immediately respond to The Daily Beast’s request for comment. Book ban backfires as independent school district of Kellar, Texas is forced to take out the Bible, the Anne Frank book


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