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Keller ISD's book hit list includes all versions of the Bible and many LGBTQ titles

An open book.
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Keller ISD has removed more than 40 books from classrooms and library shelves because of a new school board policy.

All versions of the Bible. The graphic adaptation of The Diary of Anne Frank. Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye. Those are just some of the familiar books that weren’t available to students on the first day of school Tuesday in the northern Tarrant County community of Keller.

Keller’s school board adopted policies earlier this month about classroom and library books that get challenged by parents.

Despite long-standing review policies, the district said in an email Tuesday that administrators asked staff and librarians to pull all of the classroom and library books that were challenged by parents last year “to determine if they meet the requirements of the new policy.”

Before the Aug. 8 meeting, books that were challenged by parents were pulled from the shelves and then reviewed by a standing committee. Some of the challenged books were removed, while others were restored or limited to certain age groups.

Now, all of the books that were challenged in the past year — including those that had been restored — are gone again.

Alex Gino’s George, which is described as the story of a 4th grader born as a boy who knows in her heart she’s a girl, had been removed last year. Keller ISD’s review committee had unanimously agreed to leave the book in classrooms and libraries. But it was back off the shelf Tuesday.

Similarly, Toni Morrison’s first novel, The Bluest Eye, about an African American girl growing up in Ohio just after the Depression, had been removed, reviewed and restored. But it’s also gone for now.

The committee had permanently removed some books from the classrooms and the shelves. Those included Sharon Draper’s Panic — described as a story of an abducted teen, friends desperate to find her, and plots touching on sexting and date abuse — and L.C. Rosen’s Jack of Hearts (and Other Parts), described as a young adult (YA) novel about a sexually-active gay teen trying to uncover a blackmailer attempting to force him back into the closet.

New, more conservative trustees joined the board after the last election, changing the board’s political make-up/balance.

Here’s Keller ISD’s list of removed books.

Got a tip? Email Reporter Bill Zeeble at bzeeble@kera.org. You can follow him on Twitter @bzeeble.

Bill Zeeble has been a full-time reporter at KERA since 1992, covering everything from medicine to the Mavericks and education to environmental issues.