ACLU Disapproves of Keller ISD’s New Book Guidelines


Students in a school library | Image by Shutterstock

On Monday, the board of trustees for the Keller Independent School District (ISD) amended the district’s content guidelines for library books, which could result in the removal of some books if they are found to discuss or depict a concept called “gender fluidity.”

The concept of “gender fluidity” refers “to change over time in a person’s gender expression or gender identity, or both,” according to a Harvard Medical School blog post on the topic. The concept was broached as part of a broader debate nationally over efforts by activists to introduce or maintain a curriculum regarding transgenderism to children.

The blog goes on to say, “That change might be in expression, but not identity, or in identity, but not expression. Or both expression and identity might change together.”

The adopted changes are the latest evolution of Keller ISD’s “Content Guideline Exhibit,” which was designed to serve as a guidepost for the appropriateness of books and materials utilized in the district’s campus libraries.

The board of trustees adopted new content guidelines in late August for students’ exposure at various grade levels to potentially controversial topics through library books and instructional resources. The guidelines address topics such as the glorification of suicide or self-harm, depictions of sexual abuse, and drug or alcohol use by minors.

Monday’s amendment to the previous content guidelines added “gender fluidity” to the list of topics and deemed books depicting or discussing this subject inappropriate for all grade levels.

The inclusion of “gender fluidity” by the board of trustees now means that books with such content may be flagged by parents or community members of Keller ISD. Once flagged, a book is then reviewed by a committee comprised of school staff and members of the community, who determine whether the book will be returned to shelves or removed.

The Texas chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) announced opposition to the changes and tweeted out a “fact sheet” hours before the board of trustees met to vote on the inclusion of “gender fluidity” in the district’s content guidelines.

“TODAY: Keller ISD, near Fort Worth, is voting on a policy to ban students’ access to books about transgender and non-binary people,” ACLU Texas tweeted. “This unlawful and discriminatory policy seeks to erase trans and non-binary students and will have harmful repercussions if passed.”

ACLU Texas claimed that the proposed changes would unilaterally “ban” books, with no acknowledgment that community members themselves, not the Keller ISD board of trustees or staff, initiate the process of challenging a potentially violative book, which then leads to a formal review process.

Local news media has also repeated this claim.

The reality is that many books that have been flagged by the community for formal review have been “returned to circulation” while others have been categorized as appropriate only for certain ages (e.g., high school) or removed altogether.

Additionally, ACLU Texas has claimed in its fact sheet that “gender fluidity” is a vague term that “seeks to erase the existence of transgender and non-binary Keller ISD students.”

However, the term appears to be clearly defined by numerous dictionaries available on the web, as well as in oft-cited medical research.

Seventy speakers, some in favor and some against, lined up to share their thoughts with the board of trustees in advance of the vote.

“Y’all would rather punch down a marginalized group than stand up for all kids. I promise you, my child is not a political agenda,” said Gretchen Veling, who identified herself as the parent of a non-binary student in the district.

Daniel Moore, an American history professor, spoke strongly in support of the proposed changes, stating, “The less than 1% [of students] who do identify as this [gender fluid] deserve our empathy and respect.

“But the 99% of kids who do not, should not be groomed into understanding that this is a normal condition when this is, in fact, less than 1% [of students],” Moore concluded.

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4 months ago

“Y’all would rather punch down a marginalized group than stand up for all kids.”

IF a child has gender identity issues, then they need to be helped by a professional, NOT USED AND INFLUENCED BY AMATEURS AND POLITICALLY ALIGNED FRAUDS.

In the past we have KNOWN that teachers and even school nurses and counselors have DEMANDED that BOYS receive ADD drugs to be in class. They wanted this because boys are very active and teachers wanted a CONTROLLED CLASS without having to deal with them.

When that happened to a boy next door I helped write the letter to the district. We asked the teacher and school counselor as well as the Principal why their MD in psychology or Psychiatry was not listed in the state medical records. We then explained that any further practice of medicine by them will be cause for CITIZEN’s arrest under CA Law.

I suggest that any parent having issue with the School interfering in any gender identity issue with your child to do the same.

As to the quote. Standing up for your child and your family IS standing up for all kids. This person is as confused as their offspring.

4 months ago

The ACLU can suck it.

4 months ago

Why is aclu making a decision for children when it should RIGHTFULLY belong to the parents. Being woke does not make you an authority on what is best for a child you are not rearing or proving daily guidance to.

4 months ago

I completely agree with Mr.Moore’s stance and also Keller ISD’s stance on this issue.
Children that are still in school should NOT be forced to be taught with books that contain this type of information. School is for learning and nothing more.

4 months ago

If the ACLU disapproves you know you are on the right track.

4 months ago

Nice job of reporting both sides of the issue. Most other media should do the same but won’t.