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To: FBISD Board of Trustees

Support Greater Transparency in the Fort Bend ISD Book Challenge Process

Photo by qiwei yang on Unsplash
Parents and residents of Fort Bend ISD want transparency for the reconsideration process in school libraries. A decision-making process shrouded in secrecy increases concerns regarding the censorship of ideas and the risk of constitutional violations. As the Supreme Court noted, “students do not surrender their First Amendment rights at the schoolhouse gate” and all citizens, including minors, have the right to receive information and ideas.

The current reconsideration process requires committee members sign Non-Disclosure Agreements and the use of a rubric that has a very narrow definition of what materials students should have access to, thus taking away a parent’s right to decide what is best for their child. One person’s beliefs should not usurp the authority of other parents to decide for their own child when it comes to public education. We deserve to know which books are being challenged, by whom, and the reason(s) for the challenge. The removal of books from Fort Bend ISD means our students will not be properly prepared for the AP Literature Exam. Students deserve access to a wide variety of diverse and challenging books that represent the world around them and prepare them for life after K-12.

Why is this important?

To date, more than 30 reconsideration requests have been submitted, asking the district to review materials found in high school libraries. Parents and residents of Fort Bend ISD have the right to know who is submitting these challenges and why. Currently, this level of transparency is only made available by submitting a Freedom of Information Act request; an increase of requests could potentially consume valuable resources. Thus, we are asking Fort Bend ISD to take a proactive approach and make the following information publicly available on their website for each reconsideration request submitted:
• Copy of the submitted Request for Reconsideration of Instruction Materials
• Copy of the completed Reconsideration Rubric for Library Materials
• Reconsideration outcome with an explanation of the decision
Fort Bend County, TX, USA

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2024-05-01 11:48:30 -0400

100 signatures reached

2024-04-30 00:08:14 -0400

50 signatures reached

2024-04-29 20:11:04 -0400

25 signatures reached

2024-04-29 16:59:11 -0400

10 signatures reached