Saturday, September 30, 2017

Free People Read Freely: Texas Edition 2017


The American Civil Liberties Union of Texas has produced a report on attempted book-banning by Texas school districts each year for twenty-one years. Challenges increased during 2017 from the year before, but bans decreased. Out of eighteen challenges, two books were banned in Texas schools during the 2016-2017 school year. The results of this report are below and include the reasons given for each challenge, which makes for some interesting reading.  

Special mention for an outstanding job: Harmony ISD, New Braunfels ISD, Orenda Charter Schools, Taylor ISD, and Uplift Charter Schools - Thank you for taking a stand and retaining the challenged books.

Special mention for caving in one form or another every single time: Franklin ISD

Very special mention for being particularly insulting: Whoever complained that Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel was too complex. Way to have confidence in your kid. I hope this complaint was made by a kid trying to get out of homework.

CHALLENGED BOOKS (by school district):

Blum ISD
Book: Malcolm X: By Any Means Necessary by Walter Dean Myers
School: Blum Middle School
Reason cited: Offensive to religious sensitivities; politically, racially, or socially offensive
Action taken: Alternate book assigned

Franklin ISD
Book: True Colors Series by Melody Carlson
School: Franklin Middle School
Reason cited: Inappropriate situations for age of student reading
Action taken: Use restricted for certain age group

Book: Maximum Ride Manga Series by James Patterson
School: Franklin Middle School
Reason cited: Inappropriate language for age of student reading
Action taken: Use restricted for certain age group

Book: Drama by Raina Telgemeier
School: Franklin Middle School
Reason cited: Inappropriate material for all ages on this campus
Action taken: Banned

Harmony ISD
Book: Black Butler #5 and #6 by Yana Toboso
School: Harmony School of Advancement
Reason Cited: Offensive to religious sensitivities; witchcraft, satanic, and occult themes
Action taken: Retained

Kirbyville CISD
Book: Drama by Raina Telgemeier
School: Kirbyville Junior High School
Reason cited: Politically, racially, or socially offensive
Action taken: Banned

Lake Travis ISD
Book: More Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark by Alvin Schwartz
School: Lake Travis Elementary
Reason cited: Violence or horror
Action taken: Book removed from school library pending decision

Book: 1984 by George Orwell
School: Lake Travis Middle School
Reason cited: Parents felt book was not age-appropriate
Action taken: Alternate book allowed

Leander ISD
Book: Boxers by Tammy Gagne
School: Camacho Elementary School
Reason cited: Information regarding bull-baiting, bull-docking, and bull-cropping was not appropriate for elementary school
Action taken: Retained

Book: Beyond The Grave by Judith Herbst
School: River Place Elementary
Reason cited: Photographs will scare children and give them nightmares
Action taken: Book moved from elementary school campus to middle school

Montgomery ISD
Book: The Highwayman by Alfred Noyes
School: Montgomery Junior High
Reason cited: Profanity; sexual content or nudity; violence or horror
Action taken: Unknown

New Braunfels ISD
Book: I Survived (The Attacks of September 11, 2001) by Lauren Tarshis
School: Memorial Elementary School
Reason cited: The word "terrorist" being used
Action taken: Retained

Orenda Charter Schools
Book: The Stranger by Albert Camus
School: Gateway College Preparatory School
Reason cited: Violence or horror; offensive to religious sensitivities
Action taken: Retained

Poth ISD
Book: The Tell Tale Heart by Edgar Allen Poe
School: Poth Junior High
Reason cited: Violence or horror; offensive to religious sensitivities
Action taken: Alternate book assigned

Taylor ISD
Book: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
School: Taylor Middle School
Reason cited: Politically, racially, or socially offensive
Action taken: Retained

Uplift Charter Schools
Book: The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
School: North Hills Preparatory
Reason cited: Unknown
Action taken: Retained

Book: Like Water For Chocolate by Laura Esquivel
School: North Hills Preparatory
Reason cited: Too complex for the grade level assigned
Action taken: Excerpts of text still used in 11th and 12th grade Spanish IB diploma course


Artwork courtesy of the American Library Association

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