Trustees vote to remove students from peer review

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By George Slaughter, Editor

Katy school administrators voted on Monday to remove students from a book review committee tasked with deciding whether a particular book or books should remain in school libraries.

The vote was an amendment to the policy that the trustees approved at their regular board meeting.

Proponents of student presence on the committee have argued that such an arrangement gives students a chance to ensure student views are heard and considered. But when the issue came up at the end of the meeting, one administrator, Leah Wilson, said young adults deserved a seat at the table when it came to young adult material.

Some other administrators remained firm in their opposition.

“I absolutely object to students being on the committee,” Councilwoman Rebecca Fox said, adding that even though the students are 18 and adult in some ways, they are still students and, although students, they are also children.

“At Katy ISD, we teach children, not adults,” Fox said. “I don’t believe children should be making decisions of this magnitude for other children.”

Fox said she spoke with four area school districts — Cy-Fair, Fort Bend, Lamar CISD and Spring Branch — and was told they don’t use students on such committees. .

“It’s a dealbreaker for me if the students are on the committee,” Fox said.

Administrator Victor Perez also objected to students serving on the challenge committee.

“For me, it’s about parental rights,” Perez said. “It dilutes the voice of parents.”

Perez said that, like Fox, he had spoken informally with other school districts about the policy.

“It’s not even on the radar,” Perez said.

Fox and Perez, along with administrators Dawn Champagne and Lance Redmon voted against student representation on the panel. Wilson, along with trustees Greg Schulte and Ashley Vann, voted to retain student representation.

A district spokesperson said the policy is expected to be posted on the district’s website in the coming days.

The district maintains a list of books it has pulled from shelves on its website, the URL of which is katyisd.org/Page/4311.

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