The policy is rooted in the model acquisition policy proposed by the Texas Education Agency (TEA), which required that the district adopt a version of the policy by August 31. KISD has been working on the final version throughout the summer.
The purpose of the policy is to provide transparency about the selection, inclusion, and removal of materials from the school library.
On May 23, KISD suspended its previous version after TEA began an investigation into the district’s acquisition policy.
Generally, the new policy acknowledges that the board of trustees is ultimately responsible for what materials are in the school libraries; lays out the criteria for selecting appropriate materials; allows for review of any newly acquired materials; and establishes a process for parents, district employees, or any district resident to challenge materials as inappropriate.
According to Dr. Charles Randklev, a member of the KISD board of trustees, all previously challenged materials under the old policy will be evaluated under the new process.
He wrote on his official Facebook page, “Per the new policy, instructional materials previously challenged following the old policy, which was flawed and exposed children to pornographic material, will be re-evaluated.”
“The challenge process for these materials will go through a committee composed of community and staff members, which will be open to the public and video and audio recorded.”
“This is not a ‘one book in one school’ problem,” Randklev emphasized. “It is systemic and will take time to address.”
Randklev called media reports claiming that materials like the Bible and “The Diary of Anne Frank” would be banned by the district “false” and “having little regard for truth or facts.” Those previously challenged books will be re-evaluated based on the standards adopted last week.
Selection criteria in the policy calls for inclusion of materials that have “literary or artistic value and merit” while protecting children from “pervasively vulgar, [or] obscene” library books.
The false media reports resulted in several district employees being “harassed and threatened by community members,” Randklev criticized.
Summer Crow, a KISD parent, appreciates the new policy as a “move to clarify what content is considered age-appropriate for the students in our district.”
She believes the policy strikes a balance between protecting children from “unknowingly pick[ing] up a school library book and be[ing] sexually awakened or exposed to, detailed, explicit sex” and “allowing [a challenged] book to still be accessible but only with parental oversight until the book is deemed appropriate.”
Crow points out that parents can still buy books through local bookstores or perhaps check them out from public libraries.
“This is not a suppression of ideas, it is a recalibration of our school libraries to be in line with content that is rated inappropriate for minors in other media means such as movies,” she emphasized.
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Kim Roberts is a regional reporter for the Texan in the DFW metroplex area where she has lived for over twenty years. She has a Juris Doctor from Baylor University Law School and a Bachelor's in government from Angelo State University. In her free time, Kim home schools her daughter and coaches high school extemporaneous speaking and apologetics. She has been happily married to her husband for 23 years, has three wonderful children, and two dogs.