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Editor’s note: Readers’ discretion advised.

(The Daily Signal) — A high school principal in Texas slow-walked a review of nearly 200 books in the school library that parents flagged for sexually explicit material, setting a timetable of 22 years to reconsider them, according to documents and emails obtained by The Daily Signal.

Parents in Llano, Texas, told The Daily Signal that they began expressing concerns to Llano High School’s principal in January 2023 about library books rated “adult” by the publishers. Several of the books include extremely graphic sex scenes.

The parents shared their emails to Llano Principal Scott Patrick with The Daily Signal, which has not been able to verify their authenticity independently. The high school didn’t confirm or deny the authenticity of the emails, which also indicate that Patrick included students on a panel reviewing challenged books.

Llano High School serves 529 students in Llano Independent School District, based in Llano, Texas.

On Jan. 17, Bonnie Wallace, the mother of a former student, filed a detailed form, called a “Request for Reconsideration of Instructional Materials” for the book Call Me by Your Name by Andre Aciman, which was available for students to check out of the high school library.

Wallace said the book contains explicit sexual scenes that are unsuitable for distribution to minors by a taxpayer-funded school, such as this one on page 144:

I saw one of them enter my room and reach for the fruit, and with the fruit in hand, come to my bed and bring it to my hard ****… and gently press the soft overripe peach on my **** till I’d pierced the fruit along the crease that reminded me so much of Oliver’s a**.

A Texas bill passed in June 2023, the READER Act, requires public schools to remove books that include material that is “sexually explicit, harmful, pervasively vulgar, or educationally unsuitable” from classrooms and libraries accessible to minors. The law reinforces existing Texas Education Agency policy forbidding schools from providing explicit materials to minors.

Through January, Wallace filed reports on four other books with similar issues for concerned parents.

Patrick didn’t remove the books or respond to the vulgar, sexually explicit paragraphs that Wallace cited in her reports. It appears that the high school’s principal also ignored or disregarded books’ changed statuses as “adult” by publishers and distributors.

The book A Court of Silver Flames by Sarah Maas contains multiple scenes in which the narrator describes a character’s request to “f*** me … on this table, on this chair, on every surface in this house.”

Other sexual scenes in Maas’ book are too vulgar for The Daily Signal to print, yet students may read them in Llano High School’s library.

The publisher, Bloomsbury Publishing, changed the rating of the Maas’ entire “Court of Thorns and Roses” series from “young adult” to “adult” in September 2020, as Wallace pointed out to Patrick in an email. As of publication of this story, the designation for A Court of Silver Flames remains “young adult” in Llano High School’s library.

In a January 22 email obtained by The Daily Signal, Patrick laid out for Wallace and other parents how the school district would review the cited books. The principal said he anticipated that process would take “roughly 30 days” for each book. His email suggests that the committee would review books one at a time.

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Parents have reported 198 books in Llano High School as violating the Texas Education Agency’s regulation and the Texas READER Act. At a rate of nine working months per year, Patrick’s email suggests that the Llano school district would spend over 22.5 years reviewing the cited books.

On Friday, exactly 30 days later, Patrick informed Wallace of the reconsideration committee’s decision on Call Me by Your Name, the first of the concerning books in line.

“The reconsideration committee has voted to remove the book from circulation by a vote of 7:0,” the principal wrote.

Patrick didn’t provide a reason in the email for removing the book, nor did he respond to The Daily Signal’s question about why the book remained on the shelves of his school’s library during the review.

The other books with explicit passages, cited in forms shared by parents, appear to remain accessible to students in Llano High School’s library. The Daily Signal sought to confirm this with Patrick and the school district, but neither responded by publication time.

According to Patrick’s emails, the “book reconsideration” committee included students until a lawyer recommended their removal from the process. It isn’t clear when the school district or the high school selected students to review the sexually explicit books, nor how many students of what ages were recruited.

Neither Patrick nor any other administrator in the Llano school district answered The Daily Signal’s questions about how students found out about the book review committee and were added to it, or why Patrick suddenly removed them.

Patrick told Wallace in a Jan. 31 email: “Students were placed on the committee after the district received parental consent for them to participate.”

In a Feb. 6 email to Wallace, Patrick said of the students on the review committee: “Although their participation is allowed by policy, the district determined it is in their best interest to be removed from the process so that they are insulated from any potential controversy.”

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The Llano school district did not confirm the authenticity of the emails and forms sent between Patrick and Wallace.

Assuming the emails are authentic, Patrick may have recognized a potential controversy in asking students, some perhaps minors, to read “adult” books with passages detailing sex, gore, and drug use in vulgar fashion.

The school district’s 2023-2024 Student Handbook bans the use of “profane language” in class and on clothing, which presumably includes vulgar slang for male and female genitalia and sexual acts.

According to parents, Patrick acknowledged receiving complaints highlighting sexual passages in the books. The principal didn’t explain why he didn’t immediately remove the books from the school library until they had been reviewed, given parents’ concerns.

Parents told The Daily Signal that the books remain available in the school library while under review.

Reprinted with permission from The Daily Signal.

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