My Response to Dr. Waldrip Regarding Explicit Books in Frisco ISDJune 2, 2022
Dr. Mike Waldrip
Superintendent – Frisco ISD
5515 Ohio Drive
Frisco, TX 75035
“Even one sexually explicit book is too many. I’m sorry this happened on my watch. Frisco ISD will aggressively remove these books from our shelves and will implement policies to ensure vulgar books like these never make it to our shelves again. This shouldn’t have happened, and it won’t happen again.”
Dr. Waldrip, the statement above is all parents and taxpayers needed to see from your open letter. Unfortunately, they got more excuses.
Since you have continually refused me the opportunity to meet with you personally, I too, will share my thoughts publicly.
In your May 19th letter you state that the District has “consistently expressed that we are unequivocally committed to ensuring our libraries do not contain sexually inappropriate materials.” However, the same individuals supposedly committed to this statement and comprehensive review – you included – are:
- Approving staff to attend conferences in which drag queens and pro-Critical Race Theory activists are the guest speakers.
- Employing library staff who openly profess to training other librarians to be “disruptive, co-conspiring advocates” for far left social causes, to “read woke”, and “to bring in and educate white folx”.
- Allowing graphic rape and sex displays at Reedy High School, which I had to publicly bring to your attention before it was removed.
- Retaining copies of explicit books such as All Boys Aren’t Blue by George Matthew Johnson, Lawn Boy by Jonathan Evison, and Full Disclosure by Camryn Garrett in FISD libraries as of this writing.
So, what exactly is the District committed to?
Your letter claimed six titles had been removed in district libraries, five at high schools and one at the middle school level. That is likely a small percentage of inappropriate books on your campuses. For example, PermaBound, one of the book vendors which sold Frisco ISD multiple sexually explicit books, has – to their credit – pulled 40 titles from their national catalog of books. Next door, Prosper ISD has proactively removed about 35 titles from their school libraries. Practically every explicit book parents have sent us is found in one or more of your school libraries.
We’ve found books which contain graphic illustrations of oral sex between young girls, masturbation, sexual positions between both sexes, and other irresponsible and amoral themes. And it’s not just the cartoon illustrations. In the written word we’ve found books which describe, in every possible detail, anal sex, oral sex, masturbation, the use of sex toys, and other pornographic themes.
Clearly, we are a long way from innuendo or suggestion. We are talking about pornography and books so graphic in nature Texas school children could not purchase them directly without parental consent. Then again, perhaps we should question the real reason they are there. Afterall, your March 16th letter to me stated, “In Frisco ISD, we take the task of providing access to knowledge and ideas very seriously. As a result, we individually curate each of our 73 school library collections.”
In this same letter, you downplayed the issue of sexually explicit books in FISD by claiming only one book had been removed. Of course, I knew this to be untrue because I worked with Members of the Board of Trustees to remove the massively vulgar Jack of Hearts & Other Parts – and that’s not the book to which you were referring.
During an April 27, 2022 meeting, your Board of Trustees president claimed only two titles had been removed from the libraries as a result of concerns about sexually explicit content. We seem to be building momentum as less than a month later the number stood at six books.
You share that staff has “identified the root cause of the sexually inappropriate material found in Frisco ISD to be the shifting standards of professional review publications.” I agree that reviewers play a part in this multifaceted issue and appreciate FISD no longer utilizing Kirkus as a reviewer. Given all of this information, why is the first bullet point of the District’s newest policy: “Increasing the number of positive reviews required for a book to be selected”?
Since the start of my involvement on this issue, I have sought to hold book vendors accountable for the filth they are selling to Texas school districts. Yes, reviewers are part of the issue, but Texas schools wield incredible economic power and can force their will on the rest of the country. Your position of not following the ratings of one reviewer or increasing positive reviews is moot because nationally, we’ve found these sexually explicit books highly rated by practically all ratings entities. Some of them have even won awards! Further, I cannot pass a law which would go into effect prior to September 2023, following the legislative session from January to May 2023. We need action now!
In November 2021, Governor Greg Abbot placed a directive on the Texas Education Agency (TEA) to develop and implement statewide standards to prevent obscene books from being in school libraries. Mike Morath, the Commissioner of Education for TEA, released their recommended model for the review process for books within libraries in April 2022. The main points within TEA’s model include “maximizing transparency with parents and community members while meeting student needs to provide supplemental enrichment”. This policy model provides an appropriate response to the issues you list in your letters. Implementing this policy could and should be done at your next board meeting.
From the very beginning, you should have taken responsibility, acknowledged the issue, apologized, and immediately instituted reforms to ensure this would never happen again. Instead, you minimized it. First, by silencing concerned parents at board meetings; second, by denying the number of problematic books “slipping through the cracks”; and third, by disparaging me for representing my constituents and their concerns to the district who would not listen to them.
Despite your pushback, I will not rest until significant changes are made at the district and state levels to ensure these types of extremely graphic materials never make it onto a bookshelf in a school library again.