Spring Branch ISD school board votes to expedite process on potentially banning submitted books

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) — On Monday, the Spring Branch ISD school board vote to expedite the district’s book ban.

The 4-3 vote removes the first two layers of its book review process, meaning they would skip to the third and final review, the only stage that includes board input.

“You are expediting the process,” Dr. Mark Jones, a professor of political science at Rice University, said.

SEE ALSO: ‘It’s heartbreaking’: Spring Branch ISD bans book despite author saying he writes for humanity

Nathalie Herpin, a Spring Branch ISD parent and director of the Families4everychild, political-action committee, spoke to ABC13 and said that more than 40 books had been submitted for review this school year. A far cry from the eight submitted in 2022 and the zero submitted in 2021.

“If there’s a particular book that, as a parent, I don’t want my child to read, then that’s between me, as the parent, and my child. It’s not between me and the school. I don’t have the right to remove a book for an entire school or an entire district based on my feelings about the book,” Dr. Margaret Hale of the University of Houston College of Education said.

Parents and activists like Hale have put up many of the books submitted for reconsideration.

SEE ALSO: Conroe ISD votes to keep ‘The Perks of Being a Wallflower’ in libraries after late-night debate

“It’s important that we’re able to question when we see something that we have a concern with, but I think it’s important to teach our children critical thinking skills,” she said.

A list shared with ABC13 by a district spokesperson shows titles submitted for reconsideration, including “Magic Treehouse: Dragon of the Red Dawn” and “Dog Man: a Tale of Two Kitties.”

Sources tell ABC13 they believe innocuous reads are being submitted for review to clog up the system, prompting the Monday evening vote.

“For every action, there’s a reaction, and so the push to begin to ban books has also brought out counter-opponents who want to keep the books there,” Jones said.

For updates on this story, follow Briana Conner on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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