The Keller Independent School District (KISD), based in Texas, instructed school staff to pull all copies of a list of more than 40 books from classrooms and school libraries, reported Wynne Davis of NPR WAMU 88.5.
The books that were pulled include the graphic novel adaptation of Anne Frank’s diary, all versions of the Bible and numerous books with LGBTQ+ themes or characters. The school board did not say why the Bible and the Anne Frank book were removed, but parents had objected to them, according to the list.
The books on the list have been challenged in the past and, although some have been reviewed and put back on the shelves, must all undergo another review under new criteria set by the school board, KISD said in a statement. Books can be challenged successfully if they contain material that is overly explicit or age-inappropriate, based on community standards.
“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,” the statement said. “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.”
That is, “If the books pass the new standards, as determined by reviews conducted in coordination with campus administration and librarians, the books will be promptly returned to shelves,” wrote Keller Superintendent Rick Westfall. “We anticipate that books like the Bible, Anne Frank’s Diary: The Graphic Adaptation, and other titles will be on shelves very soon.”
The superintendent expressed concern that faculty members and other school employees were being harassed on social media, especially by community members who thought, incorrectly, that school employees created the list of challenged books. On the contrary, he wrote, “the list of challenged books was not created by Keller ISD or any Keller ISD employee, but by parents and community members.”