After Fort Worth Independent School District returned sexually explicit books to its library shelves, a local faith-based activist group attended a school board meeting to voice their concerns. 

Last month, Fort Worth ISD returned 90 of the 118 books they had taken off the shelves for further review. Sexually explicit books such as “Flamer” by Mike Curato, “Gender Queer” by Maia Kobabe, and “All Boys Aren’t Blue” by George M. Johnson are once more accessible to minors. 

After news broke about them returning the books, members of For Liberty & Justice—a nonprofit whose vision is to “mobilize the church, wake up the city, and take a stand for liberty and justice”—met ahead of the board meeting to pray and protest sexually explicit books in the district’s libraries. 

“We are letting them know this is not ok. This is very, very, bad, very dangerous to our students here in Fort Worth, and this will permeate, I believe, Tarrant County going into Dallas County and spilling over into the state of Texas,” For Liberty & Justice member Joshua Moore said at the rally per The Dallas Express.

During the board meeting, members could be seen holding signs that read, “We need education, not indoctrination,” and “Parents should have the final say.”

Other protestors also spoke to the board, criticizing the district’s decision to allow sexually explicit books back into libraries. 

“Returning the books which contain sexually explicit content to the shelves of the Fort Worth ISD libraries is a blatantly reprehensive act which you as school board members must be called into immediate accountability by those of us who are concerned for the protection and safety of our children,” said Mark Fulmer.

Fulmer continued citing several studies on the issue:

Children who are exposed to explicit content had higher rates of delinquent behaviors, increased of high-risk sexual relations, impulsive behavior, anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts, and substance abuse. These studies also referred that children who are exposed to sexually explicit materials also have a higher tendency to struggle with porn addiction many years later in their adulthood. But even more consequential … are the moral and spiritual laws which you violate by subjecting children to pornographic books.

Melinda Akowski also spoke during public comment saying, “I don’t want them to read it; I don’t want them to see it. I don’t want them to do any of that because that stays in their minds. It literally does; it shapes their futures. We cannot allow these children to be subjected to that.”

Others in the meeting spoke against For Liberty & Justice’s challenges to the books.

Sabrina Ball, who disagreed with For Liberty & Justice’s challenge, spoke out saying the concerns parents had over the books was a “culture war nonsense.”

“Tonight we are hearing a repeat of culture war nonsense from pro-vouchers groups,” said Ball. “You have a process for handling complaints from people outside of the school district. Please use it.”

Other books returned to Fort Worth ISD libraries included “Trans Mission: My Quest to a Beard” by Alex Bertie; “Wait What? A Comic Book Guide to Relationships, Bodies, and Growing Up” by Heather Corinna; and “The Pride Guide: A Guide to Sexual and Social Heath” by Jo Langford. 

Emily Medeiros

Emily graduated from the University of Oklahoma majoring in Journalism. She is excited to use her research and writing skills to report on important issues around Texas.