FORT WORTH—Mike Cee, a resident of Fort Worth, attempted to read aloud a review of an explicit book made available to students during a Fort Worth ISD School Board meeting Tuesday evening. He was subsequently ejected from the building, per the direction of the school board president.
After a school board member warned Cee that any language considered vulgar would end his speaking time, the audience erupted. Citizens can be heard loudly expressing disapproval—that if the material is too vulgar for a meeting of adults, then it shouldn’t be available to children.
As Cee began to read, he had barely made it through the first sentence, stating, “who wants my hot weiner,” before school board president Dr. Camille Rodriguez called for security to remove him from the room. Ultimately, Cee was ejected from the building by law enforcement.
“An individual was escorted out after failing to comply with repeated warnings from the Board president and legal counsel,” Cesar Padilla, FWISD Communications Coordinator, told Texas Scorecard. “Disruptions at board meetings are not permitted. Per Board policy, guests will receive one warning for an initial infraction.”
Fort Worth activist Carlos Turcios told Texas Scorecard the events of Tuesday night “shows why the community has lost trust with school boards.”
“Removing a taxpayer from a meeting for pointing out the problems that schools face is wrong,” added Turcios.
School districts across the state are preparing for a new state law, the Texas READER Act, to come into effect September 1. Recently passed by the state legislature, it 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.
FWISD—facing criticism from parents in the district for keeping sexually-explicit materials in the library—closed the district libraries earlier this month to review all materials ahead of September 1.
Padilla has confirmed to Texas Scorecard that “Flamer” has been “permanently pulled from FWISD libraries.”
However, advocates say events like Tuesday night continue to erode community trust—which is already delicate after months of pleading with the district to remove explicit materials from children’s libraries.
“Just last month I witnessed multiple parents and concerned citizens be reprimanded by the FWISD school board for simply reading passages from books in the schools libraries,” Brady Gray, President of Texas Family Project told Texas Scorecard. “They were told ‘we don’t allow that language here’ and ‘If it happens again you will be removed.’ Now they are throwing them out of meetings. This is an escalation on the part of the school board and a drastic step in the wrong direction.”
He continued critiquing the government school district:
“Instead of focusing on protecting and properly educating the children they are entrusted with, this body has chosen to admonish parents who are speaking out for what’s right. Fort Worth ISD boasts a math proficiency score of 18% and a reading proficiency score of 29%––this for a school that spent nearly $860 million last year. Fort Worth citizens should not be forced to continue to fund these massive failures and the school board should not be allowed to act with impunity.”
“I urge more parents to show up to school board meetings, schedule appointments with Dr. Ramsey and make your voices heard,” said Gray.