School District in Texas Suspends 41 Books from School Libraries

POLICY IN THE MAKING: The Keller Independent School District discusses new policy on reviewing books. Shelby Tauber/The Texas Tribune

Sienna Miller | Writer 

September 16th, 2022

The Keller Independent School district in Texas is temporarily banning all books that were challenged last year. Right before the first day of school on August 17th, the executive director of Keller ISD, Jennifer Price, sent an email to all member-schools demanding the removal of 41 books from school libraries for further review.

CENSORSHIP: Gender Queer and Not My Idea are some of the many books that are being banned in Keller ISD.

The books under examination include Gender Queer: a memoir, The Bluest Eye, Moxie, The Bible, Not my Idea, The Diary of a Young Girl, Out of Darkness, and many more. These books contain content on feminism, the LQBTQ+ community, the holocaust, critical race theory, and religious practices. Schools all around the nation are contemplating whether controversial subjects like these, which may receive negative feedback from certain groups, should be kept out of children’s reach. 

Many students are opposed to restricting books in schools. “As a Hispanic woman, I would feel unsafe and oppressed in a district that bans books. There is already a lack of exposure to minorities in this country, especially in states like Texas,” sophomore Elora Aguilar said. “Withdrawing content that expresses the importance of diversity and the reality of America’s struggles involving it would just make discrimination worse. Contentious issues should not be censored but instead used as a learning opportunity. Teaching our wrongdoings in history through literature creates an educated, growing society. (Tramadol) ”

However, those who support the restriction of books argue that children should not be exposed to heavy content at such a young age, being too overwhelming or intense for some students to comprehend. They are generally conservatives who oppose discussing or acknowledging subjects like race, sexuality, and other things that these books might teach.

A month before Price’s email, the district declared that schools must re-evaluate all books to fulfill the board’s new district policy, prompted by the addition of three conservative board members. These individuals were financially supported and advertised by the Christian phone company, Patriot Mobile, which donated over $500,000 to the Keller School district, investing heavily in controversial platforms such as ending critical race theory. Patriot Mobile blogged that they are “putting God back into our schools,” attempting to insert themselves into academics to teach their conservative beliefs to children. 

“I think that district politics can be extremely messy and can be influenced by money,” senior Luka Horspool said. “The reality of the situation is that the only way to get all books back on school shelves is to make a national policy declaring that [school] districts cannot censor books.” 

The removal of books is only escalating with the re-opening of schools, with other states such as Tennessee following suit. Without action, Patriot Mobile will continue to take over school districts and push their own beliefs into schools’ curricula, impacting the education of future generations. 

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