WARNING: This article contains sexually explicit content quoted from books.
Plano ISD removed a series of books from its libraries that contained graphic depictions of incest and underage sex.
The school district removed 64 titles from its libraries after a series of complaints from parents about sexual material. Many of the parents gathered at an October school board meeting to express their frustration over the books being made available to district students, with some reading sexually explicit excerpts to the crowd.
“I’m going to read you some pornography, brought to you by Plano ISD,” said parent Carrie Weeden in a public testimony at the meeting in which she read a section describing oral sex, according to the Dallas Observer.
“Thank you for sexualizing our children,” Weeden added sarcastically, later chastising the board.
The 64 book titles were removed one month later, which was announced in an email to parents, according to Texas Scorecard. The decision was in response to a request from parents to remove 67 titles.
Julie Briggs, the director of learning media services for Plano ISD, wrote in the email that the district applied “updated procedures” to titles that had been previously challenged but had not been pulled off library shelves.
A Plano ISD representative later elaborated, claiming the titles were primarily removed for specific instances of sexual content. The viewpoints of the authors were allegedly not considered in the title reviews.
“With the recently revised Board Policy regarding library book selection and challenges, Plano ISD leaders collectively saw a need to review and update its processes and procedures for clarity and alignment,” the Plano ISD representative told the Dallas Observer.
Plano ISD had conducted a review of its books in October that approved an extensive list of titles with purportedly sexual content, as reported by The Dallas Express. This included Identical by Ellen Hopkins, the story of 16-year-old identical twin daughters, one of whom is sexually assaulted by their father.
“[W]hen Daddy finished, he burrowed his face into Kaeleigh’s hair and wept,” one passage reads. “Confused at his tears, and at the sticky stuff icing her hands, still Kaeleigh pleaded, ‘Don’t cry, Daddy. What’s the matter? Didn’t I love you good enough?’”
The book was removed in the updated review.
Other books previously approved but now removed by the district include Collateral by Ellen Hopkins, Hooked by Catherine Greenman, and A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas.
McKinney ISD removed 73 book titles from its libraries last month that violated a policy on “harmful material” or “obscene” content, as reported by The Dallas Express.
Dallas ISD also faced pressure from parents after it kept Jack of Hearts (and other parts) by Lev A.C. Rosen in its libraries despite complaints over sexually explicit content in the book, as reported by The Dallas Express. The district appeared to remove the title this year after pressure continued.
This story was pitched to The Dallas Express by one of our readers. Do you have a story you think should be covered or a tip on breaking news? Submit your idea here.