in Houston, Texas
Public schools in Texas ban fewer books, ACLU report shows
Friday, Oct 05, 2012, 10:38AM CST
By Steve Miller

The number of books banned by public schools in Texas dropped in the past year dropped to the lowest in a decade, with the subjects of cursing, teen and race issues, illustrations and sexuality being the sticking points for parents, teachers and administrators.

The annual banned books report from the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas reports the drop, based on a mass open records request to more than 1,000 school districts. Both bans and challenges have dropped since 2007.

Most objections to book begin with a parent. From there the matter is referred to a review committee – 59 percent of them in 2011-2012 school year. The previous year, 50 percent of districts said the issue went before administration or the vague “administration or other.”

The annual report hits during Banned Books Week, which wraps up tomorrow.

Best-selling author Dean Koontz is among those whose books were banned. Books by Ernest Hemingway, J.D. Salinger and Thomas Hardy were on the list of restricted books, titles where access was limited by age or parent request.

The Michael Moore movie “Sicko”, which promoted the national health care policies in Europe and Cuba, was challenged in the Edna Independent School District in South Texas by parents who felt the liberal political view was presented without debate. The issue was resolved when the teacher “also planned to show alternative side of issue,” the ACLU report states.

The school district in Allen north of Dallas banned “The Boy Who Couldn’t Sleep and Never Had To,” by D.C. Pierson,  for middle schoolers, a book that was in the news recently when a student sought help in its meaning on the Internet and received a note from the author instead.

It seems a little tame in comparison to the unintended marking of Banned Books Week in 2010, when Texas developer Hiram Walker Royall sued an author for an unflattering portrayal of his use of eminent domain.

Royall was defeated in his effort to ban the the book by a state appeals court.

Contact Steve Miller at 832-303-9420 or

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Photo of bookshelf by flickr user zetson, used via a Creative Commons license.

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Dan Kleinman of SafeLibraries
Friday, 10/05/2012 - 11:46PM

No books have been banned. The ACLU is simply making the claim to promote its own interests. In reality, no books have been banned in the USA for about half a century.

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