Conroe ISD reviews policy on disputed books

Conroe ISD could begin removing books from classroom and library shelves while the district reviews material complaints if the school board approves the new policy next month.

At the regular meeting of the CISD Board of Directors on Tuesday evening, after an hour-long executive session, the directors continued the discussion with a revised draft policy, which was made available to the public in the book from the administration board. Revisions were made to the policy regarding instructional materials, which are used to teach “essential subject knowledge and skills in the public school curriculum,” according to the board book, and library materials, which are papers that complement the state curriculum and are self-selected by students.

The new policy would remove documents that were named in a formal complaint citing the addition of inappropriate materials to the school’s bookshelf policy while the book was under review.

The recommended policies cover material selection criteria, and both policies “prohibit work containing ‘harmful material’ or ‘obscene’ material as defined by the Texas Penal Code,” according to the board’s book, and describe formal and informal processes for challenging material.

The recommended instructional material policy includes protection against inappropriate material, stating that “educational material shall not include ‘harmful material’ as defined by Penal Code 43.24(a)(2) or ‘obscene’ material. as defined by Penal Code 43.21(a)(1) ).” The proposal also states that the material must comply with the Children’s Internet Protection Act.

“Access to disputed material shall not be restricted during the review process, except where the complainant’s request for review could reasonably result in the conclusion that the work does not comply with the Protection Against Inappropriate Material section of this policy” , according to the bill. Strategies. “In this case, during the reconsideration process, the disputed material will be restricted and available only to students with written parental permission. In all other cases, the district will deny access to a child only at the request of the parent of the child.”

The revised policy states that documents will not be removed solely because of the ideas they express. Documents that go through a formal review will not be reviewed again until they have been assessed through the local selection process.

“The primary criterion for the final decision on disputed instructional materials is the material’s suitability for its intended educational use,” according to the draft policy in the council’s book.

At Tuesday’s meeting, Superintendent Curtis Null told the council that the district administration is still working with the vendor that runs the district’s library management system to give parents the ability to see what their student is borrowing. and control the books they can and cannot. check.

The board is expected to vote on the new policy at its scheduled meeting next month on July 19.

At its May meeting, the CISD Board of Directors began a discussion regarding changes to the district’s policy regarding teaching and library materials. Specifically, the board talked about changing its policy on what happens to books that parents or district community members cite as “obscene” under Section 43.24 of the Texas Penal Code. Selling, distributing or exposing harmful material to a minor.

Texas school districts began seeking guidance early this school year regarding teaching and library materials as community members campaigned to remove material they claimed was ‘obscene’ from school shelves. . Conroe ISD is not immune to the impact of this campaign.

At last month’s meeting, CISD parents brought a list of 35 books they want removed from district shelves, citing state regulations. Titles on the list include “The Handmaid’s Tale”, “A Court of Mist and Fury”, “Perks of Being a Wallflower”, “Gender Queer”, and “Looking for Alaska”, among others.

In nearby Katy ISD, where the district has already taken down the books, students have taken the initiative to distribute titles like “Beloved” by Toni Morrison and “Maus” by Art Spiegelman to interested students.

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