North Texas ISD responds to criticism after pulling and reviewing books community says are inappropriate

Published: Aug. 19, 2022 at 7:29 AM CDT
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KELLER, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) - In Keller ISD, the decision to remove dozens of books including the Bible and a graphic adaptation of Anne Frank’s Diary from library shelves has been met with support and criticism nationwide.

The district’s superintendent has written a letter to address what’s being said and provide further clarification.

Keller ISD Superintendent Rick Westfall said he wants to ensure families that the district is not banning the Bible or Diary of Anne Frank. He anticipates they’ll be back on shelves soon. But some local organizations said this needs to happen immediately.

As a Keller ISD parent, Mike Boyer is fine with the school board’s recent decision to once again pull and review 41 books that were challenged as inappropriate by the community last year.

“There was a considerable changing of the school board composition,” Boyer said. “There was a fundamental change and that was driven by community values, so I don’t think it’s unreasonable to take another look at that.”

Keller ISD has not given clarification on how long this review period will last - but said any book that has been challenged will be held in a parental consent area until it’s approved.

“We and our partner organizations are urging that they be out back out on shelves in order to comply with the first amendment,”  ACLU of Texas Attorney Kate Huddleston said.

She said when it comes to taking legal action - all options are on the table and students must have access to a diverse array of ideas.

“So 22 of the 41 books - more than half - relate to historically oppressed communities,” she said.

She said the LGBTQ+ community makes up the majority.

“..and then one of the books is Anne Franks’ diary - adaptation form - and it is about antisemitism and the Holocaust.”

The Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas and the Jewish Federation of Fort Worth & Tarrant County said they’re disappointed and concerned.

They’ve issued a joint statement which says in part, “it is imperative that we teach our children about the Holocaust in age-appropriate ways” and “at a time of rising antisemitism, we must be particularly vigilant so that nothing like the Holocaust can ever happen again.”

Additionally, the superintendent said he’s received reports of employees being verbally attacked over this.

CBS 11 asked Keller police if they have any record and they are checking into it

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