As parents fight to get inappropriate books removed from school library shelves, one central Texas high school is telling a local mother that it will take a month to review each book she challenges under the school’s reconsideration process.
“Why do we have adult erotica in a school library?” asked Llano mom Bonnie Wallace, who is challenging the sexually explicit books. “It’s mind boggling.”
Nine of the books Wallace has challenged thus far are rated for adults per the library’s directory.
A new law—House Bill 900—known as the READER (Restricting Explicit and Adult Designated Educational Resources) Act, was passed during last year’s regular legislative session in response to months of complaints from parents about age-inappropriate and sexually graphic books that school officials refused to remove from campus libraries.
The READER Act mandated new “collection development” standards prohibiting school libraries from obtaining or possessing materials that are sexually explicit, harmful, pervasively vulgar, or educationally unsuitable.
The new standards were adopted on December 14 and apply to materials in all Texas public school libraries, classroom libraries, and online catalogs.
Wallace, a local mother of a former Llano High School student, has begun challenging the inappropriate books in the high school library, in compliance with the school’s prescribed reconsideration process.
She has submitted 14 reconsideration requests thus far and says she has a list of nearly 200 books that she would like removed from library shelves.
However, Llano High School Principal Scott Patrick has told her it will take roughly 30 days per book to review.
By extrapolating that to mean reviewing nine books per school year, it will take more than 22 years to review her list of 198 books.
Wallace says this is unacceptable, especially if the books remain on the shelves in the meantime.
“Essentially, that means that children who have not even been conceived yet, will have graduated from High School before you finish this list,” she told district officials.
“My battle is against sexual content,” Wallace told Texas Scorecard. “These books satisfy the statute. They’re pervasively vulgar and sexually explicit.”
The first book Wallace challenged is “Call Me by Your Name” by Andre Aciman, which features a 17 year-old-boy entering a sexual relationship with his father’s 24-year-old male graduate assistant. The book is rated for adults per the Llano High School Library.
Other adult-rated books challenged by Wallace include Colleen Hoover novels, which are well-known for being full of erotic content, and Sarah J Maas novels, also well-known for including erotic content.
Meanwhile, Wallace’s first book is currently being reviewed by a committee, which includes students. Principal Patrick told Wallace that the school district received parental permission for the students to be on the committee, and all committee members are required to read the entire book.
She has objected to having students on the book reconsideration committee, saying it is not reasonable or acceptable to have students reviewing books she is trying to protect them from. “Minor students aren’t allowed to vote until 18, serve on a jury until 18, buy alcohol until 21, buy cigarettes until 21, or buy weapons until 18 or 21 depending on type, so why would they be included in the decision of whether porn-riddled books are appropriate for LHS?” she questioned.
Llano ISD officials did not respond to Texas Scorecard’s request for comment before publication.