A quorum of the Frisco Independent School District’s (FISD) Board of Trustees voted Wednesday night to ban campus circulation of five books containing sexually explicit or obscene content.
The move follows months of controversy over what library materials the district is allowing students access to. Parents and activists have repeatedly squared off at school board meetings to debate the issue, as previously reported in The Dallas Express.
A total of seven books came before the board for review after they had passed two screening stages. FISD parent and State Representative Jared Patterson challenged the board to review its decision to approve the books, according to WFAA.
If a book is challenged over its age appropriateness for students, it first goes through a “level 1” review conducted by a committee of parents and campus staff.
It may still go on to a “level 2” review by district administrators and officials. The Board of Trustees conducts the final “level 3” review.
All seven books had been cleared by the first two stages of review, prompting the board to serve as the final arbiter for the first time.
With two members absent, a majority of the school board ultimately voted to permanently remove five books from district library shelves, allowing The Glass Castle and The Perks of Being a Wallflower to remain.
A newer board member, Stephanie Elad, lamented that five of the books had not been deemed inappropriate by the two previous levels of review, stating, “I’m just surprised and disappointed that these books got this far.”
Her sentiments were echoed by fellow board member Marvin Lowe, who said, “I believe some of the things that we’re considering should be obvious to most people that they shouldn’t be in our libraries.”
Responding to news of the vote in a statement to WFAA, State Rep. Patterson said: “Further action is required despite success in ridding the schools of this obscene content. Parents cannot spend time and energy holding the school districts accountable for inappropriate material in the school library.”
He added, “District leadership has proved their inability to correct the root problems of the issue.”