Leander ISD officials announced that the district will begin a literature review in November. (Courtesy of Pexels)
Leander ISD is seeking to create new policies to ban the use of “inappropriate” books in the district.
Following concerns from parents last year, district officials said a committee would begin a literature review process with teachers, parents and staff to review books licensed to book clubs. secondary schools. At recent board meetings, many parents have expressed concerns about the content of these books while other parents have expressed support for the variety of book options in student-chosen book clubs.
So far, six books have either been removed or will require additional support while reading, according to reviews from a district committee. The district has shut down all student book club units until all 15 books in each unit are reviewed, Superintendent Bruce Gearing said in a March 8 statement. Two of the eight units were examined.
“After listening to the concerns of our community, our administrators are currently working on drafting a board policy prohibiting the purchase of literature that is inappropriate for the age of students,” Gearing said in the statement.
District staff and the school board will discuss “the selection of educational materials and the local political process” on March 25 at the board meeting, Gearing said. Parents can volunteer for the book review process by emailing Jennifer Collins, the Assistant Curriculum Superintendent, at [email protected]
How did the district choose these books?
The books in question were intended for book clubs chosen by English Language Arts students, which are subject-based and not required readings, LISD said. District spokesperson Matt Mitchell previously said Community impact journal the main areas of concern for parents were social justice and how physical contact is portrayed in books.
In the spring of 2020, the district completed the adoption of the high school language arts curriculum adoption process. The process was needed before the Texas Education Agency’s new Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills requirements began in fall 2020, Collins said at the Nov. 5 meeting. The TEKS requirements were aimed at adding diversity in genre, theme, and author.
Parents, staff and community members reviewed the materials in early 2020, and the book selection process was completed mostly remotely during the pandemic in March, April and May. Collins said in November that the process relied too much on online reviews.
What books has the neighborhood collected?
The district has completed reviews of two of its eight book club units.
In the Graphic Novel Book Club English II review, three titles were removed and one title will require additional psychological support, according to the review. “Kiss Number 8”, “Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me” and “Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery: The Authorized Graphic Adaptation” have been deleted. “Speak: The Graphic Novel” will require additional support.
In the English IV A Study of Community book club, two of the 15 titles will require psychological support, according to the journal. “My Friend Dahmer” has conditional approval, but use is on hold pending further collaboration and support from LISD advisers for bullying, mental illness and criminal content, according to the review. “The Nowhere Girls” also requires support with resources on sexual assault.
The full list of books can be found here.