RRISD Superintendent Orders Book Removed From Libraries

Posted in Around The State, Commentary, Public Schools at 10:37 pm by wcnews

This AAS article about a book being banned removed from all Round Rock Independent School District (RRISD) middle school libraries that had it on the shelf (6 of 9) is disturbing, Round Rock chief removes contested book from middle schools.

School Superintendent Jesús Chávez on Tuesday ordered a novel for teenagers removed from middle school libraries three days before school trustees were scheduled to hear a complaint about vulgar language and sexual content in the book.

Chávez gave the directive after two panels of parents and school officials examined the novel and recommended it remain in middle schools.

“TTYL,” by Lauren Myracle , is told in the form of instant messages exchanged among a group of teenage girls. TTYL is shorthand for “talk to you later.”

Without having read the book it’s hard to say whether what’s in the book is inappropriate for this age group. But two panels of adults did and more deemed the book acceptable for middle school libraries than didn’t. And the school trustees were set to give their opinion in three days. It seems quite peculiar that Superintendent Chávez stepped in and stopped the process before it was finished. One parent was happy he did though.

Sherry Jennings, mother of a Ridgeview Middle School student, filed a complaint at the beginning of the school year after her daughter checked out the novel from the campus library.

“We are extremely pleased that the superintendent is interested in quality education for our children and that he realizes that, maturity-wise, they are not ready for these types of books,” Jennings said Tuesday.

The article says the books were removed from the middle school libraries and moved to high school libraries instead. The article continues.

The superintendent noted that middle school includes sixth-graders who are typically 11 to 12 years old.

“Keep in mind you have fifth-graders going into middle schools,” Chávez said Tuesday. “There may be some students mature enough to have this book, but when you look at the total middle school population, it is not appropriate.”

Jennings was scheduled to appear before the school board on Thursday to argue her complaint after the two previous panels voted to keep the book. That hearing has been canceled. Chávez said the district’s attorney verified that the superintendent had the authority to remove the book.

On Oct. 9, a six-member panel of Ridgeview officials and parents concluded the book should remain in the library. On Oct. 27, a nine-member committee selected from the district and community decided by a 5-4 vote to keep the book on library shelves.

“The last committee recommended ‘TTYL’ remain on the shelves by only a 5-4 vote, so it was a very divided vote,” Chávez said.

Whether or not Chávez had the authority is not really the issue. What is an issue is the inanity of having panels and committees weigh in and then ignore their recommendations and stop a review process before it has run it’s course. That “a very divided vote” caused him to decide to side with the minority on the issue and rule the way he decided was best for everyone is curious. Not to mention what those that voted in favor must be thinking. His actions sure makes it seem like the panel and committee had every right to rule however they deemed necessary as long as they ruled how Chávez thought they should. Here’s what the chair of the Texas Association of School Librarians had to say.

Jackie Chetzron, chair of the Texas Association of School Librarians, said she was not aware of “TTYL” being challenged in other Texas school districts.

“Professional librarians certainly take a stance most often against censorship and removal of books,” said Chetzron, a librarian in the Richardson school district near Dallas. “We do recognize that not every book is appropriate for every student. But that doesn’t mean that the book isn’t appropriate for any student.”

The ironic part is that the publicity this incident has gotten will has probably piqued the interest of many RRISD middle school students who will now search out and read this “naughty” book.

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.