For the second time in two months, parents filled a McKinney school board meeting, pleading with trustees to address their concerns about library books containing sexually explicit content.
Once again, they left disappointed.
It’s a fight happening in school districts across Texas, with mixed results.
“This is disgusting, and you’re informed,” a McKinney resident told the board last Tuesday after reading aloud a graphic sex scene from “A Court of Mist and Fury,” one of the library books available to kids in McKinney Independent School District. “Get it out of our libraries!”
McKinney parents have identified a long list of books in their local school libraries they say are inappropriate for minor children to access at school without parental supervision and at taxpayers’ expense.
Parents showed up in force at February’s board meeting to request school officials’ help in removing obscene books from library shelves.
Those at the March 22 meeting were visibly frustrated by the board’s inaction.
During public comments, citizens once again urged the board to place the book issue on their agenda for a full and open discussion. To emphasize the problem, many read graphic passages from challenged library books.
Only one person, a local high school student, spoke in favor of keeping the books.
“An overwhelming majority of the parents I spoke to at the meeting expressed their anger, disgust, and disappointment that the McKinney ISD board of trustees would continue to allow minor children to be exposed to pornography,” McKinney resident Dan Porzio told Texas Scorecard. “To put it mildly, they were not impressed with the actions of the board.”
Many at the meeting wore green to show support for Trustee Chad Green, who had been named on Tuesday’s agenda as the subject of “possible action.”
A conservative elected last year on a platform of giving citizens a voice in the district, Green is the lone board member backing parents’ calls to put the library book issue on the agenda. Constituents felt Green was targeted for representing their concerns, and several spoke on his behalf during public comments.
But Board President Amy Dankel said the closed session discussion about Green had nothing to do with “book banning,” as she called it, but a “situation that occurred on a campus.”
When citizens yelled questions about the situation, trustee Stephanie O’Dell responded only that “there was a violation of a penal code and it’s something we must report.”
Dankel then instructed McKinney police officers stationed inside the room to remove people who were shouting, which she’d also done during last month’s meeting.
The board, including Green, agreed to hire an outside attorney to investigate the incident. Green is expected to issue a statement this week.
Dankel also asserted that the board can’t take any action on books until parents go through a lengthy process outlined in policies set by the board.
Yet officials in districts like Granbury ISD and Fredericksburg ISD have addressed parents’ concerns and taken action to review and remove library books that are obscene, “pervasively vulgar,” or educationally unsuitable—following a legal policy on library materials common to all Texas school districts.
They’ve also modified local district policies to streamline the process for parents to challenge and receive timely reviews of library books they consider inappropriate for minor school children.
In other districts, including Keller, Lovejoy, and Prosper, parents are in various stages of getting school officials to act on library books they’ve identified as inappropriate. Some are receiving pushback from their district, and all are targets of left-wing groups opposed to any book removals.
Activists intent on ridding McKinney schools of what they consider pornography are planning to rally at the district’s next board meeting on April 26.
Information about McKinney ISD board members and meetings is available on the district’s website at McKinneyISD.net.