Katy ISD has temporarily stopped buying library books, and will put any they've recently bought into storage, "so a committee can evaluate them before they’re placed on shelves." This sounds fairly innocuous if you don't already know Katy ISD's fraught history of banning books. I wonder if any of these board members have read Fahrenheit 451, or if it's on their banned list.

Last year, a Katy ISD teacher removed every young adult book from their classroom's library, leaving only lower elementary level books available to read... for eighth graders, to avoid controversy or confrontation. Before you blame the teacher, know that, "teachers unions [were] advising Texas teachers to remove all YA books from their personal libraries for their own legal protection."

When I was in eighth grade, I was reading challenging books written for adults. If I would have been subjected to The Very Hungry Caterpillar as my only reading option, I doubt I would have bothered to come to school at all.

Photo by Adam Winger on Unsplash
Photo by Adam Winger on Unsplash

Katy ISD's book reviews have come under fire by the ACLU for removing books about the United State's history with racism, the Holocaust, immigrants, police brutality, and (you guessed it) LGBTQ issues. And apparently, the issues with the books weren't from parents, it was from employees of the school. Which employee(s) want to suppress information about the Holocaust, and why?

To summarize, from 2018 to the present, Katy ISD has conducted approximately 118 reviews of books to reconsider whether and where they belong on district shelves. A startling number of these reviews—at least 85—have been initiated internally, meaning that a district employee requested the review.

Now, students must have permission from parents to check out books from classroom libraries. And every new book must be reviewed for "sexually explicit content" before they can reach library shelves. Again, this is not the parents.

Some board members said Monday they have concerns that certain materials may be sexually explicit.

It infuriates me that a country built on freedom of speech and freedom of information has this sickness of quite clearly politically motivated censorship seeping into public schools. Literacy is the most powerful tool with which to forge an enlightened society.

“But remember that the Katy ISD Board of Directors Captain belongs to the most dangerous enemy to truth and freedom, the solid unmoving cattle of the majority” - Fahrenheit 451


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