Texas AFT Joins Coalition Partners with Guidance for Districts on HB 900, Book Bans

This week, Texas AFT joined the Children’s Defense Fund-Texas and other public education and civil rights groups in sending an advisory letter to all Texas public school superintendents regarding book-banning bill HB 900.

In the letter, our coalition provides updates and legal guidance on how to best comply with the current law, while also ensuring that books that aren’t banned are kept on or returned to library shelves. As previously reported in the Hotline, HB 900 has been partially blocked, and now that the book rating system has been ruled unconstitutional, it’s important that the preemptive action taken by some districts to remove certain books be undone. The new standards “affirm that books cannot be removed “based solely on the ideas contained in the material or the personal background of the author of the material or characters in the material,” which would prevent district administrators from acting in removing thousands of educational and important books.

In distributing the advisory letter, these organizations are working to alert district and local leaders about what actions are and are not legal following the protracted court battles over HB 900, as well as give them access to resources to stand their ground in opposing book bans. This is an important step in safeguarding students’ freedom to learn across Texas and making sure our public schools are equipped to create joyful, confident readers.

As the legal battle continues, we will continue to stand with organizations like the Children’s Defense Fund, PEN America, and others to oppose book bans and rating systems across the board.