As the new school year begins, Fort Worth Independent School District is closing all school libraries until August 25 to ensure all materials contained within are suitable for student consumption.
Following months of parental outrage over sexually-explicit materials in student libraries, the Texas Legislature passed House Bill 900 by State Rep. Jared Patterson (R–Frisco). HB 900 prohibits school libraries from housing materials that are sexually explicit, vulgar, or educationally unsuitable. It also sets up state standards for keeping inappropriate sexual content out of all school libraries and classrooms.
Now, FWISD has announced that all libraries will be undergoing a full review of their inventory.
Jessica Becerra, the FWISD Communications Coordinator, told Texas Scorecard the librarians returned last week and have “received training… so we can be in compliance with the Texas House bill.”
FWISD came under fire from parents over the summer. They reportedly “scrambled” to remove inappropriate books from district libraries, especially as certain lewd books were still in the libraries under the district’s Director of Library Media Victor Chapa.
FWISD told Fox 4 Chapa has been removed from that position and the district is “working diligently” to ensure compliance with HB 900.
Texas Family Project President Brady Gray told Texas Scorecard, “We are thankful to see Fort Worth ISD taking action. This is a victory for the parents and citizens who stood up and spoke out on this issue, despite being silenced by the school board last month. Their persistence puts us closer to restoring the safe and enriching environment schools should be and will protect countless children from being exposed to obscene and pornographic content in these libraries.”
HB 900, also known as the READER Act, will take effect September 1 following its approval by Gov. Greg Abbott earlier this summer.