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At recent meetings, parents have called for increased parental involvement in the selection, approval and removal of books from district libraries, hoping to protect their children from views they feel conflict with their values and beliefs.
For example, parents have requested that the book “Flamer” be removed from the CFISD libraries because of obscene content. However, during the May 9 board meeting, resident Jennifer Chenette said she believes such books can help students feel seen and heard. CFISD mother Monica Dean called for a system to alert parents when their child borrows a book from the library that would allow parents to accept the content, reject it, or ask for content review.
“This isn’t about restricting books; it’s about giving parents more power when it comes to giving permission for what their student is checking out,” Dean said at the May 9 meeting.
book review process
The State Board of Education on April 11, after receiving an order from Gov. Greg Abbott, released guidance for districts to maximize transparency in book selection and limit potential exposure to inappropriate materials.
According to Chief Academic Officer Linda Macias, CFISD has book selection and removal procedures in place to ensure students can access materials relevant to their studies or personal reading enjoyment without exposure to materials devoid of social redemption value missing.
The district has a certified librarian on each campus, where students have access to approximately 1.59 million physical and digital books.
Macias said library collections vary across the district because content is selected to meet the needs of students on each campus, but district officials want the collections “to enrich the quality and variety of thought and expression.”
At the same time, parents can access campus library catalogs online and request that their child not be allowed to borrow certain genres or books they deem inappropriate, Macias said. For books read in English class, parents will also be notified two weeks before the start of a new unit and can choose an alternative choice.
Officials said the district removed nine books that were either brought to its attention by other districts or added to a list of 850 books. State Rep. Matt Krause, R-Fort Worth, said in an October letter, “students may experience discomfort, guilt, fear or any other form of psychological distress because of their race or gender.
Macias said library collections are carefully assembled at the district level, with considerations of reading levels, curriculum enrichment and encouraging reading engagement.
“Within the wide range of literature that we make available to students, there may be scenes where a character’s actions or motives provoke conflicting opinions,” Macias said. “Our intention is never to condone this behavior, but rather to provide an opportunity to learn from different life experiences.”
Cy-Fair resident Julie Rix said she and her colleagues would like to see their values prioritized in books and curricula within the district.
“God, family, country are the moral majority,” Rix said. “We need the fear of God among us because we are all in positions of responsibility and accountable to God for how we are discipling the next generation.”
However, members of the Cy-Fair Civic Alliance have been vocal in supporting the provision of books with diverse perspectives. The group is described as “a non-partisan organization… dedicated to improving civic health and promoting civic harmony within Cy-Fair ISD,” according to its Facebook page.
In April, members delivered flowers and treats to district librarians to “counter the vitriol” that has required individuals to remove books, according to member Lesley Guilmart, who is also an instructional coach at Cy-Fair High School.
Cristina Mejia is a member of the CFCA and an elementary school parent. She said she believes library content should be age appropriate and has found that this is the case with CFISD.
“I know that not everyone (or every librarian) is going to have the same opinion on different things, but by acknowledging that they are the experts in the field, we can have different opinions, and that’s where we follow the process,” said Mejia .
This article is courtesy of our ABC13 partners at Community Impact Newspapers.
https://abc13.com/cy-fair-civic-alliance-remove-diverse-books/11953030/ Student Resources: Cy-Fair ISD is seeing an increase in requests to remove controversial books