Banned Books in Texas, 2014-2015

Sep 27, 2015 Print This Post

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A literate society is a free society.

Banned Books Week is Sept. 27 – Oct. 3, 2015.

We believe in an educated citizenry. We believe in a society where ideas are openly disseminated, discussed, and debated. We believe in the right to access information, and the right to make up our own minds. We believe that the right to disagree is fundamental to our democracy, and that our country functions best when citizens exercise their right to read, learn, and explore the world around them.

Although these foundational beliefs enjoy pride of place in the First Amendment to the Constitution, sadly the fight against book bans continues to this day. Throughout our nation’s history, giants of American literature like William Faulkner and Richard Wright and Mark Twain and Harper Lee have fallen to the censor’s pen. We must remain vigilant if we are to ensure that ideas and information are available to all.

To that end, every year the ACLU of Texas sends out requests to school districts and charter schools in Texas. We ask for basic information on whether books have been banned or restricted, and what mechanisms schools use before pulling a book from their library shelves or school curricula.

We don’t believe that one parent should have the right to dictate what’s accessible to the entire student body. We believe children’s interest in reading should be encouraged, and that the decision to retain a book on a library’s shelves must be taken with great responsibility and care.

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13 BOOKS CHALLENGED
2 BANNED in 2014-2015

In 2014-2015, we recorded thirteen book challenges submitted to Texas schools. Most of the books in question were challenged due to profanity, violence, or sexual content, while drug use, politics, and offense to religious sensibilities recorded one challenge each.

Based on responses to our open records requests, a total of ten school districts logged book challenges this past year, with Red Lick ISD topping the list. In many cases, librarians and school administrators found a way to accommodate the parents’ complaints while not depriving other students of the challenged material, either by denying access to the book to the child of the parent who filed the complaint, or by requiring students to have parental permission before checking out the texts in question.

Only two books were banned outright: Hans Wilhelm’s I Hate My Bow at Red Lick Elementary School and Andy Riley’s The Book of Bunny Suicides at Chapel Hill Junior High.

School Districts with book challenges, 2014-2015:

  • Red Lick ISD
  • Chapel Hill ISD, Titus County
  • Meridian World School
  • Irving ISD
  • Calhoun County ISD
  • Round Rock ISD
  • Highland Park ISD, Dallas County
  • Conroe ISD
  • Community ISD
  • New Braunfels ISD

Titles of Challenged Books and Results of Challenge, 2014-2015:

  • The Host by Stephenie Meyer (use restricted)
  • I Hate My Bow by Han Wilhelm (banned)
  • The Book of Bunny Suicides by Andy Riley (banned)
  • The Natural by Bernard Malamud (alternate book allowed)
  • Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out by Susan Kuklin (retained)
  • Red Azalea by Anchee Min (use restricted and decision pending)
  • The Berlin Boxing Club by Robert Sharenow (retained)
  • The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein (retained)
  • Thirteen by Lauren Myracle (use restricted)
  • Santa Clause Around the World by Lisl Weil (retained)
  • Drive-By by Lynn Ewing (alternate book allowed)
  • Drama by Raina Telgemeier (use restricted and content changed or deleted)

Challenged Books by District, 2014-2015:

Calhoun County ISD

Book: Red Azalea by Anchee Min
School: Calhoun High School
Reason Cited: Sexual content; politically, racially, or socially offensive
Action Taken: Use restricted

Chapel Hill ISD, Titus County

Book: The Book of Bunny Suicides by Andy Riley
School: Chapel Hill Junior High
Reason Cited: Violence/Horror
Action Taken: Banned (removed from library)

Community ISD

Book: Drive-By by Lynn Ewing
School: McClendon Elementary
Reason Cited: Violence/horror
Action Taken: Alternate book allowed

Conroe ISD

Book: Thirteen by Lauren Myracle
School: Wilson Intermediate
Reason Cited: Profanity, sexual content, drugs or alcohol
Action Taken: Use restricted

Book: Santa Clause Around the World by Lisl Weil
School: Powell Elementary
Reason Cited: Violence or horror; “There was a description of a horned figure taking children”
Action Taken: Retained

Highland Park ISD, Dallas County

Book: The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
School: Highland Park High School
Reason Cited: Profanity, sexual content
Action Taken: Retained

Irving ISD

Book: Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out by Susan Kuklin
School: MacArthur High School
Reason Cited: “Subject matter not appropriately presented”
Action Taken: Retained

Meridian World School

Book: The Natural by Bernard Malamud
School: Meridian School – High School
Reason Cited: Sexual content
Action Taken: Alternate book allowed

New Braunfels ISD

Book: Drama by Raina Telgemeier
School: Seele Elementary
Reason Cited: Parent felt subject matter too advanced for elementary students
Action Taken: Use Restricted

Red Lick ISD

Book: The Host by Stephenie Meyer
School: Red Lick Middle School
Reason Cited: Offensive to religious sensibilities
Action Taken: Use restricted

Book: I Hate My Bow by Han Wilhelm
School: Red Lick Elementary
Reason Cited: Parent didn’t like the word “hate”
Action Taken: Banned (removed from library)

Round Rock ISD

Book: The Berlin Boxing Club by Robert Sharenow
School: Deerpark Middle School
Reason Cited: Sexual content
Action Taken: Retained


Past ACLU of Texas Banned Books Reports:
2014 Report | 2013 Report | 2012 Report | 2011 Report | 2010 Report | 2009 Report | 2008 Report | 2007 Report | 2006 Report | 2005 Report | 2004 Report | 2003 Report | 2002 Report