A Texas mother is teaching parents across the state how to audit school libraries as a new state law banning sexually explicit books from being provided to public schools remains on hold due to litigation.
Christin Bentley has been leading a workshop titled “How to Audit School Libraries for Sexually Explicit, Pervasively Vulgar, and Educationally Unsuitable Materials.” The workshop is meant to help parents identify books that might violate the new law.
Bentley began advocating for the removal of certain books in school libraries when she started her “Filthy Books” campaign in February.
She sent daily emails containing samples from books she considered to be sexually explicit to every Texas legislator to highlight the material minors had access to in public schools. In total, 72 samples were sent to legislators by the time she finished her campaign.
“Sadly, we have enough book titles to do this every day for two years, and we still wouldn’t be providing all of the books,” she told the Texas Scorecard.
Bentley also founded the Texas Freedom Coalition, a self-described “network of conservative activists and patriots who advocate for constitutional government in the state of Texas, lobby for Texans’ God-given rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and organize local and regional grassroots efforts to promote and preserve liberty principles in Texas.”
Rachel Hale, the group’s executive director, said the fight against inappropriate content in libraries “is not about banning books, as some would like you to believe.”
“What this is about is removing pornographic, pervasively vulgar, and sexually explicit books from the reach of minor children,” Hale claimed, according to the Texas Scorecard.
Currently, Bentley serves as the chair of the State Republican Executive Committee’s Stop Sexualizing Texas Kids legislative committee.
HB 900 was signed into law by Gov. Greg Abbott in June. In addition to banning sexually explicit books from being sold to schools, the law also requires vendors who sell to schools to rate every book based on its sexual content. However, a recent lawsuit lodged by book vendors resulted in the law being temporarily put on hold.
As previously reported by The Dallas Express, some vendors feel that the law is unduly burdensome.
“What might be sexually relevant to one vendor could be sexually explicit to another, and yet another vendor may not feel like the book needs to be rated in either of those categories,” said Shirley Robinson, executive director of the Texas Library Association, per CNN.
Bentley’s course teaches concerned individuals how to identify books that could be considered sexually explicit while also providing a list of 400 books on school library shelves that could be removed under HB 900.
The course instructs those interested to cross-check the list of books, which will be updated monthly, with the library catalog of their local school district. Bentley suggested that those performing an “audit” email the results to their local school board and superintendent.
“Texas school officials have always had the legal authority and moral imperative to remove explicit materials from their libraries,” Bentley said, per the Texas Scorecard. “We will hold school boards accountable to doing the right thing by Texas children.”
As previously reported by The Dallas Express, books like Jack of Hearts (and other parts) by Lev A.C. Rosen and Freakboy by Kristin Elizabeth Clark had been mainstays at multiple campus libraries in Dallas ISD, prompting outrage from concerned parents and community members over the allegedly obscene material available to students.
“If it had been a movie, it would be rated X. It’s offensive and completely inappropriate for our children,” Tami Brown Rodriguez said to The Dallas Express in February, commenting on Jack of Hearts (and other parts). Dallas ISD seemingly pulled the title from library shelves after its school board received repeated criticism from parents at school board meetings.