For Immediate Release
CDF-Texas, Partners Urge TX School Districts to Refrain from Rating Library Books According to HB 900
On Monday, nine organizations, including CDF-TX, sent more than 1,200 superintendents in Texas a letter informing them HB 900 book ratings imposed on booksellers cannot be enforced at this time.
John Henry, email@example.com, Media Relations Manager, 708-646-7679
Austin, TX – Children’s Defense Fund-Texas urges school districts to refrain from rating library books following the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals’ recent judgement that found key parts of House Bill 900 to likely be unconstitutional. This order has profound implications for the book ratings regime imposed by HB 900, commonly known as the “Book Ban Bill.”
HB 900 passed during the 88th Legislative Session and faced legal challenges initiated by a coalition of bookstores and bookseller associations in BookPeople, Inc. v. Wong. The recent order by the Fifth Circuit affirms the lower court’s decision to block enforcement of key parts of HB 900, asserting their likely unconstitutionality.
In addition to pausing book ratings, CDF-Texas also encourages school districts to return books and remove any imposed rating system they may have. On Monday, nine organizations, including CDF-Texas, sent more than 1,200 superintendents in the state legal guidance informing them that HB 900 book ratings imposed on booksellers cannot be enforced at this time.
In the letter, the organizations state, “Districts have the responsibility to serve all students and provide instructional materials that reflect the breadth and depth of students’ lives.” Read the letter in its entirety here.
The adoption of school library collection standards developed by the Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC) and approved by the State Board of Education (SBOE) is permissible, but provisions referencing the rating system are inoperative. School library purposes, as per TSLAC and SBOE, include enriching and supporting curriculum, fostering growth in knowledge and values, encouraging enjoyment of reading, and representing diverse cultural groups. The standards emphasize that books cannot be removed based solely on ideas or personal backgrounds and provide opportunities for stakeholder feedback.
As the landscape of HB 900 evolves, CDF-TX remains committed to the belief that this order reinforces students’ constitutional rights and encourages a more inclusive, diverse, and enriching educational environment.
About Children’s Defense Fund
Founded in 1973, Children’s Defense Fund envisions a nation where marginalized children flourish, leaders prioritize their well-being, and communities wield the power to ensure they thrive. The only national, multi-issue advocacy organization working at the intersection of child well-being and racial justice, CDF advances the well-being of America’s most diverse generation, the 74 million children and youth under the age of 18 and 30 million young adults under the age of 25. CDF’s grassroots movements in marginalized communities build power for child-centered public policy, informed by racial equity and the lived experience of children and youth. Its renowned CDF Freedom Schools® program is conducted in nearly 100 cities across 30 states and territories. Learn more at www.childrensdefense.org.