All versions of the Bible and an illustrated version of Anne Frank’s diary were among the “challenged” books that were pulled from shelves across Keller Independent School District in the Dallas-Fort Worth area in Texas.
The move came after Texas education officials began an investigation last December into claims that the district did not properly evaluate the books that had made their way into classrooms and school libraries — which may have resulted in sexually explicit materials being made accessible to school-aged children. Governor Greg Abbott called on state education officials at the time to investigate “the availability of pornography” in public schools and to develop new standards that would prevent “obscene content in Texas public schools.”
The investigation was triggered after parents complained about “Gender Queer: A Memoir,” a graphic novel by Maia Kobabe that explores gender identity and sexual orientation and includes illustrations depicting oral sex.
But according to a new report, even after a number of books were “challenged” and then approved by parents and staff, the district abruptly announced plans to pull all of the books that had been “challenged” throughout the course of the investigation — including some that had made it through the approval process.
Jennifer Price, the district’s curriculum director, sent an email Tuesday to all Keller principals along with a list of the offending titles. “By the end of today, I need all books pulled from the library and classrooms,” she wrote, reported The Dallas Morning News. “More information will be sent regarding action for these books. … Once this has been completed, please email me a confirmation. We need to ensure this action is taken by the end of today.”
Among the “challenged” tomes were all versions and translations of the Bible — which is described as being authored by “men who lived a long time ago — no 1 exact author exist [sic] for these books” — and “Anne Frank’s Diary (The Graphic Adaption)” by Ari Folman and David Polonsky.
The full list included dozens of titles primarily pertaining to gender identity and sexuality, anti-racism and Critical Race Theory, and political themes, and is available here. The list was sent to schools along with a letter from Texas State Rep. Matt Krause (R-Fort Worth), in his role as chair of the House Committee on General Investigating, requesting information about which schools had copies of the listed titles and how much money had been spent in acquiring the titles for their libraries and classrooms.