In a win for parents pushing to protect students from exposure to sexually explicit content in schools, McKinney Independent School District has finally removed 73 titles from campus libraries.
District officials say the books did not meet the “selection criteria” adopted by the school board earlier this year.
McKinney parents began challenging explicit and age-inappropriate books in school libraries in 2021. The challenges were part of a heated debate that was—and still is—happening in school districts across Texas and nationwide.
“McKinney ISD has completed a review of our campus libraries,” the site states. “The following titles do not meet the selection criteria in board policy EFB Local and have been removed from McKinney ISD libraries.”
Texas school districts follow a standard policy regarding the selection and removal of school library materials, which allows districts “significant discretion” to remove books “based solely” on “educational suitability.”
A district possesses significant discretion to determine the content of its school libraries. A district must, however, exercise its discretion in a manner consistent with the First Amendment.
Students’ First Amendment rights are implicated by the removal of books from the shelves of a school library. A district shall not remove materials from a library for the purpose of denying students access to ideas with which the district disagrees. A district may remove materials because they are pervasively vulgar or based solely upon the educational suitability of the books in question.
Parents waited many more months for the district to finally take action and remove the unsuitable books.
Officials in nearby Plano ISD also recently removed more than 60 library books considered too explicit for students—but only after months of public pressure from parents and the community. Many of the same titles were removed by both McKinney and Plano.
Starting next year, a new law will require all Texas school districts to remove books rated by vendors as “sexually explicit” and keep them out of school libraries.
House Bill 900, also known as the READER Act (Restricting Explicit and Adult Designated Educational Resources), was passed during this year’s regular legislative session. The law’s effective date was September 1, but various provisions kick in between January 2024 and January 2025.
HB 900 is being challenged in court by a coalition of booksellers, publishers, and defenders of allowing readers of any age to access any content.
Texas will present arguments supporting the measure on November 29 before the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. If the state succeeds in court and can fully implement HB 900, parents in McKinney and across Texas will have legal backing to protect their children from exposure to smut at school.