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Houston mom says daughter's teacher removed all YA books from class

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Britton Bogle’s love of literature and reading runs deep. Katy ISD, her eighth grade student at her McMeans Middle School, devotes the morning to helping the school librarian get ready for the day.

So when Britton’s English teacher removed many books from the classroom library and only stocked the lower grades, Britton was devastated.

“The classroom library was destroyed,” said Carrie Bogle, Britton’s mother.

Teachers disposed of books with the Young Adult (YA) label, regardless of content, Bogle said. This included Bruce Cameron’s best-selling book The Purpose of Dogs and Britton’s personal favorite SE Hinton’s The Outsider.

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Britton tells mothers that the school’s principal, Steve Gazzetta, tells teachers to label all YA books in the classroom with a special label so teachers can alert parents if a child checks out a book in that category. He reported that he said he needed it.

But according to American Library Association spokesperson Shauna Hines, the YA designation is different from how the MPAA rates movies. The YA label only appears if the book was written for children aged 12 to her 17.

Hines said the label is determined by the book’s publisher and doesn’t take into account whether the book contains mature content.

Katy ISD spokesperson Maria DiPetta said that when a teacher removes a book, it is not ordered by the school district. “There is no district mandate to remove young adult books from classroom libraries,” she said. “Parents and guardians are always encouraged to contact the campus principal or teacher if they have any questions about their child’s classroom or academic progress.”

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Last month, the Katie ISD Board of Directors considered a proposal to change the district’s policy on library books. Classroom libraries are still exempt from the rules that govern school district policies, but if the proposal passes, teachers will be held accountable for policing books in the classroom.

Deborah Caldwell Stone, director of the ALA’s Office of Intellectual Freedom, said, “Removing YA fiction from the classroom will help students explore the rich diversity of challenging literature as they prepare for higher education and careers. “Treatment of young people like children deprives them of the rich educational opportunities that will prepare them to become successful adults.”

risk over reward

The statewide controversy over the book ban has become so severe that the teachers’ union has recommended that teachers in Texas remove all YA books from their private libraries for their own legal protection. said Glenda Macal, president of the Fort Bend division of the American Teachers Federation.

Macal worries that Katy’s teacher will soon become a direct target for parents if they object to the book in the classroom.

“We told teachers, ‘Obtain a specific list of books that you are allowed to own from the principal, get it in writing, and keep only those books for legal protection.’ Keep it in your room.’ It’s so bad to say.. ‘We’re seeing what’s going on with Katie ISD and it’s really tragic.The only people hurt by this are the children. ”

Bogle remains dissatisfied with Katy ISD’s response to her concerns, saying teachers should not be forced to regulate their classroom libraries.

Bogle says that instead of making an effort to monitor all the books the class wants to read, many teachers simply remove them from their rooms entirely.

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“They might just pull books off the shelves,” Bogle said. “It’s not fair for teachers to force them to deal with this on top of everything they already have to do.”

Beyond the time and effort required to monitor all books in a classroom, teachers may be removing books themselves to avoid getting into controversy, Katy said regularly at the ISD board. Angie Waller, an activist against book bans.

“There’s no need to tell teachers to remove books because they’re already afraid of what might happen if parents decide the books are offensive,” Waller said. One parent’s trouble with a book is enough to put the teacher in trouble.”

“And let’s be honest, anyone can find a book offensive if they really want to,” she concluded.

Earlier this year, a small group of parents took on the Holocaust novels “Mouse” and “Mouse II.” An August Chronicle analysis found that Katie ISD had the fourth-highest number of book bans in the state.

According to the ALA, the most frequently challenged YA books include Anne Frank’s “Anne Frank: A Girl’s Diary,” F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby,” and Harper Lee’s “Kill a Mockingbird.” there is.

“These are the books we all grew up reading,” said Bogle.