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State lawmaker says pulling books for review isn’t censorship

Keller ISD pulled 41 books, including the Bible and an adaptation on "Diary of Anne Frank."

FORT WORTH, Texas — Some public school libraries in Texas are now on the frontline in the ongoing culture wars.

Officials in the Keller ISD yanked 41 books off the shelves throughout the district for further review after they were challenged by parents.  That includes the Bible and “Anne Frank’s Diary: The Graphic Adaptation.”

State Representative Matt Krause is the state lawmaker who started his own book inquiry last fall when he asked schools if they had some 850 titles on their campuses.  Many of the titles pulled in Keller were also on his list.

RELATED: Texas book inquiry: What are the consequences if a district has one of the 800 titles identified? Rep leading the charge won't say

The Fort Worth Republican says he doesn’t view it as subjective censorship, but instead finding the right balance for our kids.

“I think it's always a good idea to ensure that the books that are in the library's bookshelves in your schools are appropriate, age appropriate,” Rep. Krause said on Inside Texas Politics.  “And as you and I have talked about, what's appropriate in a Keller ISD high school may not be appropriate in a Keller ISD middle school.  So, I think you always have those conversations.  I think they're constructive.”

As for the Bible, Rep. Krause doesn’t think it will be off shelves for long.  He thinks it was a “tit-for-tat” type challenge, where a parent or group said if you’re taking books from our side, we’ll take some books from your side.

But the Republican also firmly believes these decisions should remain local, even if in the future a new school board would decide to make a Bible ban permanent.

“We've always said the power of what should be or should not be in these libraries is up to the local communities.  And you're right, maybe in five, 10 years, Keller ISD, the parents, the taxpayers, the school board, the superintendent all decide this shouldn't be in our libraries. That should be up for them to decide,” he told us.

The Republican also says he expects state lawmakers to consider more laws concerning library books when they return to Austin in January.  He says they, too, have to find a balance.

“You want to make sure you continue to allow for that autonomy and community input.  But I do think the legislature will take a look at it,” said Krause.  “It may be some guiding standards, some guiding principles on what you should do, and then the particulars will be addressed by the individual school districts.”

Rep. Krause himself won’t be there in January.  He’s leaving office after giving up his seat to run for Tarrant County District Attorney.  But he lost in a runoff to Phil Sorrells.

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