ISD Keeps Two Transgender Books in Library

Children's books | Image by Jacqueline Nix/Getty Images

In spite of a grievance filed by a local grandmother, the Denton ISD school board voted 6-1 on Tuesday to keep two books about transgenderism in the Newton Rayzor Elementary School library.

Debi Scaggs, who has a grandchild in the school district, has been fighting to get books she considers unsuitable for school libraries removed, as previously reported by The Dallas Express. Although Denton ISD removed three books that Scaggs brought to its attention, the board opted to keep two purportedly pro-transgender books.

In the books Jacob’s New Dress and Jacob’s Room to Choose, the main character deals with bullying as he wears a dress to school and tries to use a bathroom that does not align with his biological sex.

After the school board voted in December to allow the two books to remain in the school library, Scaggs said she would file a Level 3 grievance to present her case to the school board in person.

“The December 18 decision [by Denton ISD] retains ‘Jacob’s New Dress’ and ‘Jacob’s Room to Choose’ in the library and allows their use in classrooms. Scaggs contends that these books are educationally unsuitable and do not meet the Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC) collection development standards for school libraries, underscoring the need for these discussions to be within the purview of parents with a focus on foundational subjects,” a press release by Citizens Defending Freedom (CDF) stated.

CDF was assisting Scaggs in the grievance process.

“They have entrusted you to know the difference between educational material and material that amplifies a sexual experience,” Scagg’s attorney, Mitch Little, told the board, per CBS News Texas. Little came to the meeting armed with copies of books he deems more appropriate for elementary students.

“I live in Denton County, and I can’t speak on behalf of everyone,” Little said, according to KERA News. “But the ones that I know don’t send their children to school to have LGBTQIA-plus experiences amplified. We send them to learn.”

Others attending the meeting urged the board to keep the books in the elementary school.

“If kids aren’t supposed to be exposed to trans people, should I be outside?” Kristine Bray, a transgender woman, asked, per CBS. She asked the trustees and members of the public if they thought she should be locked away.

Ultimately, the school board decided to keep the two books in the library, claiming they met district and state standards. The board reiterated that parents have the right to restrict their own children’s access to content they deem inappropriate at school.

Several ISDs have experienced backlash for having transgender content in their libraries. As reported by The Dallas Express, Dallas ISD was criticized by Texas House candidate Chris Spencer for having a “Transgender Guide” for students. Spencer argued that issues like these were the reason school choice legislation is imperative.

“That’s just one of many examples… I think parents deserve an option, whether it’s a charter school, public school, Christian school, private school, or home school,” Spencer said, as reported by The Dallas Express.

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