The National Coalition Against Censorship has written to the Conroe Independent School District in Conroe, Texas, regarding recently adopted policies which require parental permission to check out allegedly obscene books from libraries while they are under review.

Under the new policies, students will be required to have parental permission to check out challenged books, if the review could “reasonably result in a finding” that a book is obscene or “harmful to minors” under Texas law.

Policies which rely on vague language like “could reasonably result in a finding” around issues like obscenity are dangerous to free speech. The bar for a work to be legally considered obscene is very high and very unlikely to apply to any books which have been purchased by professional educators. Confusion over this criteria opens the door for misapplication of the policy by district staff seeking to exercise an abundance of caution.

We urge the district to ensure that their staff has a complete understanding of these technical terms, so that their responsibilities under the law can be upheld, and their students’ right to read is not abridged. 

Please read our full letter to the board below. Click here for a full screen view: