Vandegrift high school students read banned books

AUSTIN, Texas — At Vandegrift High School, a group of young women are reading books banned from their school’s libraries and classrooms. Last year, Leander ISD deleted 11 school curriculum books. The Vandegrift Banned Book Club has read seven so far.

“I’m working towards a goal that doesn’t just help me, it helps everyone and kids like me who want to be able to read and not have to worry about people’s voices and memories being silenced. “, said Jaea Rivera, one of the members of the club.

The most recent book they read was “The Nowhere Girls,” which deals with high school sexual assault and bullying.

“I felt like this book was really something I could relate to because as a girl I also experienced sexual assault and harassment,” Isabela Rotondaro said. “I was never raped or groped, but comments and ways I was spoken to. And even the little things need to be discussed, what they talk about in the book.

A club member feels empowered, but also says they’re just kids reading books.

“I think it’s good to make your own decisions about what you want to read and what you choose to educate yourself about and allowing yourself to make that decision is a very important step in growing up and becoming an adult because then you don’t You’re not just listening to what other people are saying, but you’re also forming your own opinion,” said Nicole Miltonberger.

Several Texas politicians support removing the books from state libraries. State Rep. Steve Toth, R-Spring, was unavailable for an interview, but he recently announced legislation to keep obscene and pornographic material out of schools.

“We need to tackle the obscene material that desensitizes our children and makes little boys and girls objectified. Obscenity in public schools creates a dangerous environment for our children,” the press release bed in part.

State Rep. Jared Patterson, R-Frisco, also wants to remove “explicit” books from Texas libraries.

“My overriding goals at this time are for school districts to aggressively remove these explicit materials and put policies in place to ensure these types of books do not end up in the library in the future,” Patterson said in a statement. statement to Spectrum. New.

But members of the Vandegrift Banned Book Club see reading as a way to learn more about these issues.

“From their point of view, I think it would be better for children like us to learn about these kinds of subjects through books rather than trying to gather research on our own and being misinformed and ending up become super-ignorant about this stuff,” Rivera says.

As the group takes a break from club meetings this summer, they are teaching other young adults what they have learned.

“We are working with the Austin Public Library with a few summer camps to help other students start their own banned book clubs and fight book bans,” Miltonberger said.

Follow Charlotte Scott on Facebook and Twitter.

Colin L. Johnson