Spring Branch ISD Board votes on banning books from school libraries

The discussion to ban books in school libraries is red-hot in Spring Branch ISD after the board made a critical vote. 

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The Spring Branch ISD School Board voted to allow the Board of Trustees to decide if books should be banned, without input from teachers and librarians. This is just temporary and at the request of the superintendent.

"We’ve had 50 total challenges of books since August 2021," Spring Branch ISD Superintendent Dr. Jennifer Blaine said. "We’ve had 42 challenges this school year alone, and we’ve held 28 committee meetings to deal with them."

With every meeting to decide if a book should be banned from a Spring Branch ISD library, Dr. Blaine says that takes significant time.

"I’m not going to call my entire academic staff off to sit and listen to book challenges every day, all day while our kids don’t get what they need. So I’m asking for the board to assist me," the superintendent explained.

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At Monday’s meeting, the Spring Branch ISD Board voted 4 to 3 to approve temporarily removing teachers, administrators, and librarians from the process and the board alone will decide which books will be banned. 

"And that is a terrible idea. Here are a few reasons why. That is not the board’s job," one parent stood and said at the meeting. 

Moms and dads were lined up to speak. Some agree with the change. Some reading from books they want to be banned, which include sexual words and terms we can't air. 

"Laura unbuttoned my pants, pulled my boxers down a little, and pulled out my…" one parent said.

"Papa Gaines never sat you down son and said one day you’re going to have to eat the (expletive)?" another parent said. "No, but he did teach me how to eat a…"  

"Please note these are teenage characters we’re reading about, not adults," said a mother of four as she read from a book she wants to be banned.

"My son is a gay male, and I’m happy if he wants to bring home a book that represents him," another mom told the group.  

"We can have books that represent a variety of children at age-appropriate times that aren’t sexually explicit," a different mom adds.

The Houston Federation of Teachers also represents Spring Branch ISD educators. 

"When you start removing other parent' rights you’re going backwards in history to a time when certain people were able to make all the decisions for other people," Houston Federation of Teachers President Jackie Anderson added. 

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She says she hasn’t been contacted by any teachers voicing their concerns. 

"I think teachers would be concerned when they start to remove books that deal with the truth and try to diminish the history because we need to learn about our history, be it good or bad," she concluded.