(NewsNation) — A school district in north Texas is pulling more than 40 books from its library shelves, including the Bible and an adaptation of Anne Frank’s diary.
The books were ordered removed Tuesday by Keller ISD officials after they were challenged last year, the Texas Tribune reported. Other titles on the list include Toni Morrison’s “The Bluest Eye,” and Maia Kobabe’s “Gender Queer: A Memoir,” which includes descriptions of gender identity and sexual orientation.
Some of the books on the list were initially flagged but later approved by a committee to remain in libraries. But a spokesman for the district said the school board, which recently gained new conservative members, approved a new policy that requires every book that was previously challenged to be reconsidered, the Dallas Morning News reported.
In a statement, the district said all books on the list were ordered pulled to allow for another review by the committee to determine if they meet the new policy that was approved Aug. 8.
“Books that meet the new guidelines will be returned to the libraries as soon as it is confirmed they comply with the new policy,” the statement reads.
The new policy was, according to the district, established “to protect kids from sexually-explicit content, which has found its way into our schools.” It finalized its library procedures in a meeting on Aug. 8.
It outlined books could not be offered to students for several reasons. Among them include a state law that prohibits school libraries from carrying books that appeal “to the prurient interest of a minor, in sex, nudity, or excretion.”
Library materials that are pervasively vulgar, obscene, or that adopt, support, or promote subject matter that has been prohibited by law or by the District’s Content Rating Exhibit, including any such instructional resources described in EMB(LOCAL) are Prohibited Materials.
Prohibited Materials shall not be used, introduced, or provided to any students in any District school or otherwise.Keller ISD
Parents can use a form to submit their challenges. The form suggests parents only file it if they’ve read the entire book.
The district maintains a webpage with all of the books that have been challenged, and it shows many center around LGBTQ characters. The committee decided “The Bluest Eye” and the Bible would remain in their current locations, while “Gender Queer” was to be pulled from circulation. “Anne Frank’s Diary (The Graphic Adaption)” remained, as well.
The battle over books at Keller is part of a larger national debate initiated by Republican leaders over titles about race, gender and sexuality. Many argue books containing pornographic material are being allowed in schools, and the Texas Education Agency launched an investigation into Keller last year after receiving a complaint about “sexually explicit content” in books.
Controversy arose in Tennessee earlier this year when a school board voted to ban “Maus,” a graphic novel about the Holocaust. The book, written by Art Spiegelman, tells the story of his Jewish parents living in 1940s Poland, and it won a Pulitzer Prize.