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Censorship Showdown: Texas School Board Elections Target Book Bans 

Texas will be holding school board elections for 73 different independent school districts, and there are many candidates who have expressed ideas about banning books.

Banning books has been a major topic of debate in some districts, with activists such as Mom for Liberty targeting books that contain LGBTQ or diversity themes, or that contain any mention of sex, regardless of context.

According to the Observer, some of these groups have had a significant impact on the school district, with some succeeding in removing books from libraries.

In November, Citizens Defending Freedom, a conservative group, campaigned against some books that offended their conservative views. A Plano ISD representative told the Observer that the district had removed some titles, but not because of the activists’ complaints. However, most of the books removed were targeted by the group.

In The Book-Loving Texan’s Guide to the May 2024 School Board Elections, Frank Strong, an Austin teacher, managed to track down Texas school board races involving candidates who have expressed intentions to ban books. According to his research, this year, the school districts for Arlington, Denton, Frisco, Grapevine-Colleyville and Keller have candidates who are “either members of pro-censorship groups… or have the support of such groups.”

In Arlington, Kathi Arocha, running for Place 3, is a member of pro-censorship social media groups, including Citizens Defending Freedom.

Melanie Barrios-Jones, running for Place 7 in Frisco, is also affiliated with Citizens Defending Freedom.

In Denton, two pro-censorship candidates are running for different seats. Debbie Scaggs, candidate for Place 1, has “charged against more than 100 books,” according to Strong’s research.

Running for Place 2 is Terry A. Senne, who has stated on her website that schools are indoctrinating and sexualizing children, and that “schools have long since departed from the traditional Godly values and principles upon which our country was founded.

The current Grapevine-Colleyville ISD board president, Shannon Braun, has fought against “social indoctrination” and “racial and sexual identity politics” in the classroom. In addition, the candidate for Place 2, Michael Alfred, has publicly endorsed Braun during his campaign.

The current Keller ISD board president Charles Randklev has eliminated half of the district’s librarian positions and District 7 candidates DaLana Barsanti and Heather Washington are affiliated with Moms for Liberty.

Strong began his research to inform voters about board candidates who resist bans, connect like-minded voters with each other and identify the extremists candidates.

“What happens in these districts doesn’t stay in these districts” Strong wrote. “As long as politicians perceive that bullying trans kids, protecting white innocence, or accusing teachers of “grooming” is a winning political issue, they will continue to do it.”

“This is still your fight!” Strong said.

Written by RA News staff.


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