ISD humble parents can already restrict the books their children consult. Some want to go further

Some Kingwood parents are demanding that what they call “pervasive and obscene” books be removed from Humble ISD libraries, challenging the district’s current policy that allows students to view controversial books with their parents’ permission.

“If the book is bad enough to require it to be labeled as adult content due to the sexually explicit nature of the book, then it should be removed entirely,” Tracy Shannon said Tuesday at the district school board meeting. .

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Shannon was among three parents who brought their concerns to the council, adding that they already had a working list of what they called 30 ‘dirty books’ and planned to go through hundreds more that they were considering to dispute.

Humble ISD Superintendent Elizabeth Fagen said the policy is designed to allow parental involvement.

“Humble ISD aspires to provide a personalized education to each child in partnership with their families,” Fagan said. “When a family comes to us and has a problem with a material or an item, we want to make sure we can find a compromise remedy that allows that family to feel comfortable with what we’re doing.

Humble joins other districts in the state dealing with book ban requests. Several Houston-area districts such as Katy, Fort Bend, and Cy-Fair have developed policies in response to calls for the review and removal of books containing topics such as sexuality, LGBTQ+ topics, and critical theory. of the breed.

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In a press release, Shannon says Humble ISD’s process — involving a form to request review of educational materials — is designed to wear parents out.

“Some of us have started the process of reconsideration, which is currently very arduous, and is not really achieving what we want, which is to remove these books from these libraries completely, because they do not have no redeeming educational value,” she told board members. during public comments.

With a child in the council chamber at the time, Shannon paused before reading aloud some of the more explicit excerpts they provided to council members.

“Our taxpayers don’t want to be complicit in the corruption of minors,” she said.

“We are confident that our district will do the right thing and take the initiative to publish these books. Currently, the process is currently protecting the books, not the children, and we would rather protect the children,” she said.

Meagan Fast said she started the process to have one of the approximately 40 books removed from Kingwood High School’s library.

“I went through the process with the reconsideration form. I read the book cover to cover, I met with a committee, they decided to keep the book on the shelf,” said Fast. “They said (it was) restricted but in my opinion, from the language, it wasn’t really restricted, as it still allowed the child to access the shelves without parental involvement.

She appealed and eventually the decision was made to lock the book in a room and only accessible with written parental permission.

She used her remaining time to read excerpts from “The Bluest Eye”, in which she worried about the book depicting the rape and assault of a young girl by her father.

Fagan said the district offers alternative resources or materials for children whose families request them.

“We have a library book review process and sometimes the committee doesn’t think the book should be retired for every child, but we always work in partnership with that family. Absolutely, your child cannot consult this book if it does not suit you. And we even added safeguards to that,” she told parents and council.

Each parent has an account in the Home Access Center, an online portal that allows them to track information such as grades, attendance and library books their child has borrowed, according to Jamie Mount, director of communications for Humble ISD.

“Making the decision to cut something for every high school student is a decision no one takes lightly,” Mount said. “But we want to make sure every family feels safe and secure in what their kids are doing and what they’re reading.”

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Colin L. Johnson