NO, IT’S NOT ABOUT BOOK BURNING!
- It is about exposing our children to materials that are OBSCENE and PERVASIVELY VULGER.
- It is about the over-sexualized, inappropriate books to which our children currently have access.
- It is about the lack of leadership by the Wylie ISD School Board by allowing NEW OBSCENE books to be purchased and added to our libraries while not showing urgency in dealing with the EXISTING OBSCENE books already in our libraries.
- It is about a School Board that refuses to insist Administration follow TEA standards to INCLUDE parents in this process.
- Finally, it is about a total lack of TRANSPARENCY about this issue and CONDENSCENSION and RIDICULE towards parents that ask questions!
All you hear on social media when the issue of obscene books in our libraries is raised are the rants about how this really just about banning or burning books and that anyone who requests a review of obscene books in our libraries must be ridiculed, vilified and malicious intent must be assigned to those who question. It reminds you of grade school bullying at it’s worst, but now it is parents doing the bullying.
How did this become such a major issue?
If you are interested in learning how we got to his point, then click HERE and learn how this has been building for almost 9 months due to a poor leadership, poor communication, non-existent transparency and refusal to follow either Wylie ISD guidelines or TEA standards on this issue.
Some have said: “this is just a bunch of book banners/burners. Obscene books don’t exist in our Wylie ISD libraries.” The following link presents seven books with excerpts. We will show you 100% proof there are obscene books currently in our school libraries. We also share the four books that were quietly removed after we brought attention to them.VIEW OBSCENE CONTENT
THIS BEGS THE QUESTION – HOW DOES ONE DEFINE OBSCENE?
The best place to start is by looking at what the State of Texas legally considers as obscene by what is codified in the Texas Penal Code. Texas Penal Code 43.24 Sale, Distribution, or Display of Harmful Material to Minor (excerpted below) (Read the full code HERE.)
- Code 43.24 defines harmful material as follows:
(2) “Harmful material” means material whose dominant theme taken as a whole:
- (A) appeals to the prurient interest of a minor, in sex, nudity, or excretion;
- (B) is patently offensive to prevailing standards in the adult community as a whole with respect to what is suitable for minors; and
- (C) is utterly without redeeming social value for minors.
- While this portion of the code clearly defines what is obscene, unfortunately, the current code includes an affirmative defense to prosecution under this section for the exhibition by a person having educational justification.
- This means you could be arrested if you were to possess something that violated this code, but if it’s in the school library or in a teachers library, they currently have an affirmative defense from prosecution.
This is a parent at a School Board in January of this year asking “When did we set the bar so low?”
IS THERE A SUPREME COURT DECISION THAT PROVIDES INSIGHT?
YES, the 1982 Supreme Court decision Board of Education vs. Pico is considered the primary guidance on this issue.
- Key points in this ruling:
- School Boards may not remove books based on “narrowly partisan or political grounds”.
- School boards may remove books if they are deemed to be “PERVASIVELY VULGAR”
- When it comes to books with STRONG SEXUAL THEMES, “courts have told public officials at all levels that they may take COMMUNITY STANDARDS into account when deciding whether materials are OBSCENE or PORNOGRAPHIC and thus subject to censor.”
Dr. Spicer and the committee she put together – NO PARENTS ALLOWED – for reviewing books uses the subjective standard of “PERVASIVE VULGARITY”. As they review books, they will only remove a book if 2/3 of her secret committee decides the book is OVER 50% PERVASIVELY VULGAR!
The question is…
Are you comfortable with this level of/lack of transparency?
Are you comfortable with books being in the library that are “ONLY” 49% pervasively vulgar?
SO, WHAT IS THE SOLUTION?
Since materials available to our children, whether in a school library or classroom library, may be held to a standard, how is that done?
The School Board will need to have extreme courage to withstand the fire storm of activists that want to push a social ideology on our children, regardless of age.
Two tactics have been utilized by ISD’s here in Texas:
- Review books and remove those considered inappropriate
- This is the strategy utilized by Granbury ISD
- Granbury ISD pulled 131 books from the shelves for review and ended up returning 116 back to the shelves
- This is the strategy utilized by Granbury ISD
- Review books and put objectionable books that violate School Board policy into a separate section in the library requiring parental approval for viewing or check-out.
- This is the strategy utilized by Katy ISD, Keller ISD and Grapevine-Colleyville ISD.
Our solution is a hybrid of all three solutions. The initial step a courageous School Board would need to take is to commit to reviewing books that are submitted for review, whether a list or individually, and doing so in a transparent way. The School Board could create a committee that includes PARENTS, perhaps something like our SHAC committees, to enhance transparency and parental inclusion, as required by TEA.
- The School Board would need to rewrite the rules surrounding how books are reviewed, both new books being purchased and existing books that have already been purchased and are currently in our libraries.
- This would include both the school libraries and classroom libraries.
There are at least 3 possible outcomes for books that are reviewed:
- Outcome 1 – Some books will need to be removed if they are found to be “Pervasively Vulgar”, Obscene (per Texas Penal Code 43.24) or violate Community Standards.
- Though done in a haphazard disorganized way, Administration has already shown books can be removed by removing “The Bluest Eye”, “Lawn Boy”, “Traffick”, “Tricks”, and supposedly several other books. It took them 9 months, and they tried to hide it. Why?
- Outcome 2 – Set up a section of each library of books that require Parental Consent to check-out.
- This is for books that fall between being removed and put back on the shelf.
- Outcome 3 – Put the book back on the shelf
- IF there is disagreement with the findings of the Committee, they could appeal the decision to the School Board. The School Board would review the book in question and have a public vote as to the outcome for that book.
We would also encourage the administration to set up a system to, at parent request, notify them of any books checked out by their children. This would help insure parents are aware of books being read as well as help cut down on lost or late books
The bottom line is we need a school board that is courageous enough to expedite thereview and/or removalof books that are obsceneand include parents and teachers in the review process.
ARE THERE LISTS OF BOOKS TO BE REVIEWED?
- There are many lists out there of questionable books. Originally, the list provided to Wylie ISD Administration in January 2022 was for the list of books reviewed by Granbury, ISD.
- There are a group of parents who have put together a list of books they would like reviewed that they have confirmed are in Wylie ISD school libraries. See it HERE
- Here are a few of the other lists of questionable books that exist.