October 6, 2022

Teens fight book bans with their own banned book clubs

Students come together to focus on this issue.

As many school districts across the country continue to ban the books, students are beginning to fight back by organizing protests and creating their own spaces to read and discuss these books.

Sophomores Ella Scott and Alyssa Hoy of Austin, Texas are two of many students leading the charge with the Vandergrift High School Banned Book Club.

“We started this club so we could learn, because high school is a place of learning,” Scott told ‘GMA’. “And that’s why these books were here in the first place.”

At Vandergrift High School — where Scott and Hoy are students and which falls under the Leander Independent School District — nearly two dozen books were removed from some classrooms, libraries and book clubs last spring.

Many of the books on the list deal with race, sexuality, and finding yourself.

Across the country, nearly 1,600 books were pulled from shelves in 26 states over the past year, according to nonprofit organization Pen America.

“It’s someone’s story and people need to know more and be okay with talking about it,” Hoy said.

School officials told ABC News that the Leander Independent School District ‘didn’t ban the books’ and instead the books go through a ‘process’ if they go through a review. . District officials can then decide if a book should be re-shelf and in what capacity.

The school district also said it “believes in allowing students the opportunity to express their thoughts.”

Hoy and Scott aren’t the only ones on a mission to bring certain books back to school libraries.

In Missouri, two college students recently filed a class action lawsuit against their district for banning books they say contain “the point of view of an author or protagonist who is non-white, LGBTQ+, or who otherwise identifies as a minority”. Some books have since been put back on the shelves.

“I think [it] scares them,” Scott said of authorities banning certain books. “I think just because it’s happening to you doesn’t mean it’s happened to others.”