KELLER, TX, Dec. 12, 2022 — Today the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression kicks off a billboard campaign in Keller, TX highlighting the importance of protecting free speech and preventing censorship. The billboard reminds Texans that censorship of books based on ideology violates the First Amendment.
On Nov. 14, the Keller Independent School District board in Keller, Texas, voted 4-2 to adopt a policy banning books in all public school libraries that reference “gender fluidity.” While books that discuss “gender fluidity” are forbidden, books depicting “passionate” kissing, nudity, or sex scenes remain available.
Even books and content depicting non-gender-conforming behavior, like the Disney movie ‘Mulan,’ could be subject to censorship. Since these new restrictions ban books based on their viewpoints or ideas, not on their educational value or age-level appropriateness, they’re a flagrant violation of the First Amendment.
"The bottom line is that Keller is prohibiting books based on the politics of the ideas they contain. You can't ban books because they argue gender is a social construct any more than you can ban books arguing there are only two genders," said FIRE attorney Adam Steinbaugh. “Students in Keller will suffer from this ideological book ban, which sends a clear message that neither free speech nor different viewpoints are permitted.”
One billboard in Keller is live today, and another will go up on Dec. 18. The live billboard reads “Free Speech Makes Free People,” and the other reads “Ban Censorship, Not Books.” They will run through February 2023.
The Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE) is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to defending and sustaining the individual rights of all Americans to free speech and free thought—the most essential qualities of liberty. FIRE educates Americans about the importance of these inalienable rights, promotes a culture of respect for these rights, and provides the means to preserve them.
Carrie Robison, Rapid Response Director, FIRE: 215-717-3473; firstname.lastname@example.org