Debates over race and racism debates are changing American classrooms

With new laws restricting education on race, history, and gender identity coming into force in more than a dozen states, students are starting to see changes in the classroom, and more likely to happen in the coming months. There is a nature.

“For teachers and students, this is an escalating censorship campaign — a dramatically increased chilling effect that leads to all sorts of negative consequences within the classroom,” said Jeremy, Senior Manager of Free Speech and Education at PEN. Young says. America has tracked censorship in the US classroom.

According to Young, these laws have so far affected classrooms in a number of ways. This led to teachers not bringing up potentially controversial topics to avoid trouble, changes in curricula and school policies, and books banned from schools.

In Missouri, school librarians are investigating books available on campus and may be removed to comply with regulations. new law It is a crime to give a student a book that contains sexually explicit material. If a school employee violates state law, he or she can be charged with a class A misdemeanor, which carries a maximum penalty of one year in prison and her $2,000 fine.

In Texas, on the other hand, recent book removals are broadly related to ongoing efforts by community members rather than a direct response to legal change.

ACLU, Texas attorney Kate Huddleston said there has been a worrying trend in recent months for school districts to remove books from shelves.

With the support of conservative legislators, the state’s “Critical Racial Theory” law went into effect in December, authorizing teachers to discuss “widely debated and currently controversial public policy or social issues.” Huddleston said that policies to enforce state laws are not well implemented, but some schools are taking action to determine what books and reading materials students have access to.

Late last year, a dozen books were pulled from the library of the Leander Independent School District in Austin, Texas.

Many of these actions are book bans and generally target history of racism, racial inclusion, gender identity and LGBTQ+ inclusion, she added.

Huddleston said, “School districts target books based on the ideas they contain, and keeping those books off the shelf violates the First Amendment and encourages students to come up with different ideas.” violates the right to access,” school officials said, including an analysis of how the Texas ACLU is not complying with federal law.

One of those school districts is the Keller Independent School District in North Texas, and last month, the day before students were to return to school, administrators asked principals and librarians: Temporarily remove 40+ books From the shelf on campus, Bryce Niemann, director of communications and legislative affairs at the Keller ISD, told CNN.

The book, which includes all versions of the Bible and a graphic novel version of Anne Frank’s Diary, was challenged last year by parents and community members, but is now subject to a series of new standards recently approved by the district’s board of directors. I should have reviewed it again below, said the trustee, a school official.

“If a book passes the new standards, as determined by a review conducted in collaboration with campus management and librarians, it will be returned to shelves promptly.” Keller ISD Superintendent Rick Westfall said in a message to district families and employees.
List of books published in District website is an adaptation of Anne Frank’s Diary and shows that all versions of the Bible are already in circulation. A review of the remaining books is underway, district officials said.

The Keller ISD is also an example of how hotly contested school board meetings are developing in some areas.

Many schools across the country debated whether to publish a book like
For more than a year, the conference has been home to protests and lengthy public comments about diversity and fair planning, critical racial theories, and student access to “inappropriate content.” Complaints about certain books, including “All Boys Allen Blue” by George M. Johnson, have often led school officials to order their removal. It means not following existing policies or formal processes. Analysis of textbook bans released by PEN America Earlier this year.

The Keller ISD and several other school districts recently drafted and passed policies to give parents and administrative committees more oversight of what students read, and introduced a rigorous vetting process for selecting library books. introduced. PEN America senior manager Young said in the past few weeks he has made it easier for nearly a dozen school districts to change policies to ban books based on their content.

Other school districts continue to remove books by conservative community members, including books on LGBTQ topics about sexuality and gender identity.

and Granbury Independent School District Board of Directors Last month, several people in the public comment section called for more books to be permanently removed from bookshelves, saying they were “inappropriate” or could damage the brains of students. Earlier this year, a district committee reviewed the challenged books and voted to remove only a handful of titles.

Teachers, parents and school librarians are against

Frustration with new restrictive laws, continued complaints by conservative residents, and even alleged harassment are prompting teachers, parents, and school librarians to take action.

An English teacher in Oklahoma said she quit her job Following a controversy over the display and student access to more than 500 books in her classroom library.

When teachers at Norman Public Schools were asked to review books that might “draw challenges” related to the new state law, teacher Summer Boyzmier labeled them “books the state doesn’t want.” and decided to cover those books. Write “read” and paste the QR code.

Boimier said she took time off, which the school district denied.

Oklahoma teacher says he resigned over state law requiring teachers to censor books in classroom libraries

“It’s my desire and my biggest goal as an educator to make the classroom as inclusive as possible,” she told CNN last month.

The Louisiana School Librarians Association urges members to stand up against censorship without resistance. Amanda Jones, a representative of the organization and a middle school librarian for Livingston Parish, said members wanted to inform community members about public policies regarding school libraries and educate them about their work because of the turmoil. .

“These fringe groups take advantage of the general public’s lack of knowledge and use rhetoric such as pornography and erotica to criticize books, particularly those on LGBTQ+ themes and sexuality written by experts such as the American Psychological Association. I’m explaining a book about health,” Jones told CNN. “They are not interested in the truth.”

According to Jones, school librarians can speak at school board meetings and write letters to city and state legislators, but “you can be attacked and completely made up about you.” Because they may be talked about,” and “Personal safety must be considered.”

“We don’t want to use the same hateful rhetoric that these people use against us,” Jones said. It is a positive move for the library.”

she recently filed a lawsuit ask the authorities to issue a temporary restraining order “Blanket” Speech About Censorship at the Livingston Parish Public Library Board of Trustees in July. Lawsuits are ongoing.
Adrienne Martin, the parent of the Granbury ISD and chairman of the Hood County Democratic Party, has since spoken at a school district conference.

Meanwhile, in Texas, Glanbury parent and Hood County Democratic chairman Adrian Martin told CNN that the same group of non-parents to children attending the district’s schools were complaining at a conference. Look, he said he recently started speaking at a board meeting. .

“Therefore, being a taxpayer does not confer special privileges on students, staff, and parents. We don’t want random people with no experience making decisions,” Martin said at the last board meeting.

“Just because I can get up and rant at every meeting doesn’t give me authority over my child’s education,” she added.

In response to book bans and censorship, many groups, including the American Library Association, have launched online tools and initiatives to help students. Last week, the ACLU of Texas launched a resource hub to help students, educators, and advocates learn how to defend their rights.

“It is critical now that people across the country, not just the ACLU, stand up for the right of all students to learn and access a wide range of ideas, especially those related to historically oppressed communities.” Huddleston said.


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