- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 1, 2022

A Fort Worth mom has filed a complaint with the Texas Attorney General’s Office alleging her daughter’s public school district told her it would cost $1,267.50 to provide lists of the books the district uses in each grade.

In an Aug. 25 letter made public this week, attorney Kristina Denapolis West says the Fort Worth Independent School District told her the charge would cover the cost of the estimated 84.5 hours of labor the district would need to compile the book lists.

Ms. Denapolis West filed the complaint under Texas’s Open Records Law, which states in section 552 that a request for “50 or fewer pages of paper records” cannot include charges for anything other than the paper itself.

“It is highly unlikely to the point of improbable that a list of required or suggested reading material — even for 13 grade levels — surpasses 50 pages,” wrote Ms. Denapolis West, who is representing herself in the complaint.

Her complaint asks the Texas AG’s Open Records Division to investigate and reduce the cost of obtaining the records, which state law entitles any member of the public to access.

In an email, a spokesperson said Fort Worth Independent School District was reviewing the letter and would respond to any inquiry from the AG’s office.

The office of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, a Republican, did not respond to a request for comment.

The complaint comes as parents around the nation have increasingly pushed back on “age-inappropriate” LGBTQ content in school textbooks and library titles.

On Tuesday, Virginia Circuit Court Judge Pamela S. Baskervill dismissed a public obscenity lawsuit that a pair of Republican politicians filed to stop Barnes & Noble from selling two books to minors on the ground that they contain graphic sexual acts.

Parents pressured school boards to ban both titles — Maia Kobabe’s graphic novel “Gender Queer: A Memoir” and  Sarah J. Maas’ “A Court of Mist and Fury” — from public school libraries across the nation over the past year.  

In California, multiple news outlets reported Wednesday that the Newport-Mesa Unified School District has ordered a new textbook called “Comprehensive Health Skills for High School.” The book teaches that there are 10 distinct sexual identities androsexual, polysexual, skoliosexual, demisexual and gynesexual.

Parents in Texas had hoped to see if the Fort Worth district was offering similar content.

Ms. Denapolis West says she asked the district for a copy of its K-12 book lists after another mother received the same $1,267.50 price quote in May.

A pro bono attorney for the conservative Goldwater Institute in Arizona, Ms. Denapolis West pulled her middle school-aged daughter out of the district over the summer.

“Book lists ought to be easily accessible to parents, either as working lists that the district can send to them or as publicly available information on the district’s website,” Ms. Denapolis West said in an email Thursday. “It’s utterly outrageous that the Fort Worth Independent School District expects concerned parents to pay nearly $1,300 for this simple information.”

• Sean Salai can be reached at ssalai@washingtontimes.com.

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