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Controversy over Books Continues at Local School District

Education

Frisco ISD administration building | Image by NBC DFW

Controversy over which books are made available to students at Frisco Independent School District (FISD) libraries continues to rage, as some district parents and local state lawmakers seek to remove from library shelves all materials they consider sexually explicit or obscene.

The FISD Board of Trustees and superintendent proved responsive to lawmakers and parent activists and opted to ban more than a dozen books from school libraries so far, according to The Epoch Times, but there are seven more titles some of their constituents want to pull off shelves:

Check, Please! Book 1: #Hockey, Chicken Girl, Glass, Glass Castle, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, and The Exact Opposite of Okay.

“The bottom line is, there’s just a culture within the school district of acceptance in promoting these types of materials,” said State Rep. Jared Patterson, speaking with The Epoch Times.

Patterson pointed out that the rubric the district uses to judge the appropriateness of library books does not mention “obscenity” and claimed that the review committee evaluating books is staffed by “local liberal activists.”

The literary and free expression advocacy organization PEN America compiled a database of books prohibited from circulation in school libraries and classrooms from July 2021 through March 2022.

The group claims that in that time frame, more than 1,000 titles were banned in 86 school districts servicing roughly 2 million students across 26 states.

They allege that common themes within the prohibited literature include “the teaching and discussion of race and racism in American history, LGBTQ+ identities, and sexual education in schools.”

Still, some parents and lawmakers contend that some of the titles in question contain graphic sexual content.

“This has nothing to do with who the author is, who the characters are, or anything like that,” argued Patterson, speaking on the matter back in August. “We’re only targeting sexually explicit material, obscene material, that in other any other form would be illegal to hand to a child.”

According to the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, a recent update of PEN America’s database through June 2022 clocks the number of school districts and affected students much higher and claims that Texas school districts have banned more individual titles than any other state in the country.

Shanon Ayres, a board member of the watchdog group County Citizens Defending Freedom in Frisco, told The Epoch Times that trying to convince FISD trustees to remove all the books they want to be removed has been a struggle, noting that there are only two conservatives on the board.

She went on to say that parents need to be more aware of what is going on in their schools.

“This is the hill we are ready to die on,” she told the news outlet.

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