Humble ISD parents form group to remove 'dirty books' from school libraries

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Wednesday, August 10, 2022
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Humble ISD parents form a group to remove 'dirty books ', but a trustee took time to target the board chair and called for her resignation.

HUMBLE, Texas (KTRK) -- Tuesday marked the first day of school in Humble Independent School District, but there's already controversy brewing on the school board.

Parents showed up to the board meeting wanting to talk about books they don't approve of, but a trustee took time to target the board chair and called for her resignation.

Trustee Robert Scarfo believes the board is in violation of policy. The issue centers on Chair Martina Lemond Dixon's consecutive terms. A decision about personnel was not on the agenda, which ultimately meant they couldn't legally discuss it. However, parents were permitted to bring up issues they have with some books in campus libraries.

"This is mature content. I'm gonna read as much as I can," one parent said.

Three parents on Tuesday night took turns reading out loud to the Humble ISD board trustees letting them hear examples of sexually explicit excerpts from books in school libraries.

The parents are part of a working group distributing a QR code in the community that leads to more information about what they call "dirty books."

The list currently includes 33 books, the school libraries where they're on the shelves, and examples of text they find inappropriate. Much of it has to do with sexual material, but some books also touch on race and LGBTQ+ lifestyles.

The parents spoke ahead of the meeting, saying they expect new conservatives on the board to do what they promised in their campaigns. Tracy Shannon is the Texas Director for Mass Resistance.

"I thought I wouldn't have to raise this concern at home, but it's everywhere. We need leadership on this school board and administration to take action to safeguard kids and to be respectful of the taxpayer," Shannon said.

In response, Humble ISD's Chief Communications Officer Jamie Mount released a statement:

"Humble ISD partners with parents regarding their children's education. Every library book that a student checks out is available for their parents to see in their Home Access Center. In addition, books that are not completely removed but may not be age appropriate for all grade levels on campus are held behind the counter, and students must have written permission from their parents to access and/or check out the book. In addition, we have a process in place for parents to request to have a book removed. A parent who spoke at the Board meeting utilized that remedy and accepted the outcome of the process. She chose not to appeal it. Humble ISD serves more than 48,000 students in diverse communities across our district and it is our goal to provide a personalized education for each child, in partnership with their parents. In alignment with that goal, if a parent feels strongly that their child does not have access to a particular book, Humble ISD will ensure they cannot check it out. Humble ISD is a leader in fiscal management and adopted a balanced budget that also includes a 4.6-cent reduction in the tax rate. (No one-time federal funds were used to create this balanced budget.) The district is fiscally healthy. Only two percent of Texas school districts have a higher bond rating. The district's bond rating is equal to or higher than 98 percent of school districts in Texas. Families choose Humble ISD. Only five districts in the entire state have grown by more students than Humble ISD over the past 6 years."

Organizers said the current process for safeguarding children does not go far enough.

"It's not book banning. It's not book burning. It's called boundaries, and we need to have some in this district," Shannon said.

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