Leander Independent School District in Leander, Texas, has removed several books from school reading lists. Teachers in the district have rallied to defend the rights of students to read the books. While Leader ISD has followed its instructional material review policy appropriately, it’s notable that two of the three books thus far recommended for removal tell LGBTQ+ stories and the initial challenge was spurred by parental opposition to the inclusion of LGBTQ+ books.
NCAC has written the district to express concern with the apparent targeting of LGBTQ+ stories for removal. The review of the books lists is ongoing.
In Leader ISD, all middle and high school English classes participate in book club-style units. Students choose a title from a list of 15 books designated for their grade level to encourage them to read books that pique their personal interest. The full review of book club reading lists was sparked by a complaint about the inclusion of In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado, an award-winning memoir of an abusive gay relationship. The district halted all book club reading until a review of all of the titles on the selection list could be completed. Thus far, the books tagged for removal are primarily LGBTQ stories and graphic novels, as well as books that deal with sexual assault.
Some district parents have expressed anger in the media that other parents’ complaints were influencing what their all children were allowed to choose to read. This is at the crux of NCAC’s advocacy for kids’ right to read: parents have a right to determine what their own children read, but not to determine what all children read.
Read the full letter to the school district below. Click here for a full screen view: