Aug 17, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Texas school district temporarily pulls 41 books, including the Bible, from shelves

Illustration of a book as the bottom of a padlock.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A school district in Texas has temporarily removed all books from library shelves that have been challenged within the last year, including all versions of the Bible and an adaption of Anne Frank's diary.

Driving the news: Keller Independent School District, near Fort Worth, has directed all teachers and librarians to remove 41 books and review them under new policies adopted by the school district last week, the Texas Tribune first reported.

  • "Right now, Keller ISD’s administration is asking our campus staff and librarians to review books that were challenged last year to determine if they meet the requirements of the new policy," the school district said in a statement after the Tribune obtained an email sent to principals about the policy.
  • "All of the books included in Tuesday’s email have been included on Keller ISD’s Book Challenge list over the past year," per the statement.
  • "Books that meet the new guidelines will be returned to the libraries as soon as it is confirmed they comply with the new policy."

What they're saying: "Anne Frank is among the most well-known of the six million Jews who died in the Holocaust," the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C. tweeted Wednesday, as the news of the book ban gained traction on social media, though made no specific mention of the books removal in Texas.

  • "For many students around the world, her diary is the first encounter they have with the history of Nazi Germany's attempt to murder all the Jews of Europe during World War II."

State of play: Parents, employees and district residents are allowed to formally file objections to books or instructional materials, per the district.

  • A committee then reviews the material to determine if it will remain in schools.

The big picture: The decision in Texas comes as school districts nationwide have been reviewing — and removing — books from school libraries, most often when the books cover LGBTQ issues and race.

  • The requests are a product of a culture war that has made schools across the nation ground zero, Axios' Russell Contreras reports.

Go deeper... Book bans are back in style

Editor's note: This story has been updated with a tweet from the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.

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