NEISD Responds to Concerns About Book Review Process

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San Antonio – The Northeast Independent School District is clarifying its decision to review hundreds of books currently in their libraries that may be considered inappropriate for some school-aged children.

Aubrey Chancellor, the district’s executive director of communications, said they were investigating a mass book review before State Representative Matt Krause called to investigate 850 books, most of which were race or race related. LGBTQ in public schools.

This letter was published in October.

“In the spring it came to our attention that we had at least a couple of books that were questionable or inappropriate,” Chancellor said. “They were brought to the attention of the superintendent who found the books, read them and said, ‘Wow. It really raises questions for me about what could possibly be on our shelves.

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With 800,000 books in 67 of the district’s libraries, school officials were trying to figure out where to start, which is why they used Krause’s list of 850 books as a starting point.

“We determined that we had 414 books on that list, so we were like, ‘Let’s go, let’s do some due diligence and start the process of reviewing these books,’ she said. “I want to be clear. We expect the vast majority of these books to do just fine. And in fact, we’ve already looked at over a hundred of them in just a few days and determined they’re age-appropriate.

The district said it had received concerns from disgruntled students, parents and staff.

“Initially, when the community started to take notice, there was a lot of misinformation and misunderstanding about what was going on,” the chancellor said. “We have had students who took to social media. Employees and parents expressed concern, but once we spoke with them and called some of the students and told them what was going on, they were like, “We understand now and we appreciate you take care of us. “

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The Chancellor said this book review is not an attack on the LGBTQ community or any minority community.

“We don’t care if the characters in the book are female or male, we just care that there is obscene and vulgar material and whether it is suitable for elementary, middle school, or high school students. “she said. “We don’t care if a book has to do with Black Lives Matter. Whether it’s heterosexuality or homosexuality. It doesn’t matter who the author is. None of that. What we are looking for is vulgar and obscene material.

She clarified what they are really monitoring.

“I can tell you that in at least one of the books that I read on my own, it wouldn’t be something you all put on the air,” she said. “And that’s when you have to ask yourself if this is appropriate for children. We are talking about sexually explicit language in the book. Whether between two females, two males. A female or a male. It doesn’t matter. The question is whether or not it is suitable for elementary school students, 14 or 18 years old. What is appropriate for them to read at these particular ages. “

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The Chancellor explained how sexually explicit material had ended up in their libraries to begin with.

“We have always relied on editors to let us know what is age appropriate,” she said. “Well clearly, that’s not always correct. So we need to go back to the drawing board and figure out how to better revise our books in our libraries. It is very difficult for a librarian to read hundreds and hundreds of books, so we rely heavily on this publisher. We need to determine a better way to ensure that these books are in the hands of the appropriate age students. “

She said that at this point, the judgment of the books is the responsibility of each librarian in the district.

“It’s up to the librarians to decide,” she said. “They have so much expertise, knowledge and education specific to this area. We hope they will be able to determine the correct decision. They are responsible for taking these books, researching them, reading parts of them. Dive deeply. They will determine whether they are appropriate or not. Are they more appropriate for secondary and not for elementary? Are they appropriate for a different section of the library? Or are they so inappropriate that they really shouldn’t be on our shelves. They will even see if it is better to have these books in a separate section that would require parental permission or that would be reserved for our older high school students. “

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The Chancellor has said since Thursday. They’ve already reviewed half of the 414 books on their list.

“We fully expect the majority of these book titles to be good and age appropriate, but we want to make sure and verify that we don’t have a few that have fallen through the cracks,” she declared. “We have to do due diligence. If you know you have something inappropriate, it is fair to make sure that you don’t have other items that might be inappropriate.

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