A lot has been happening since HPISD temporarily suspended seven books from HPHS classrooms. First, there was an online petition with more than 2,000 signatures, and then one of the books — The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls was reinstated.
Last night, the district sent out an email to parents on behalf of superintendent Dr. Dawson Orr that the temporary ban has been reversed, and the district will follow board policy EFA (LOCAL) [see below] for further review of the materials. Therefore, the titles are once again fair game for approved reading.
“I made the decision in an attempt to de-escalate the conflict, and I readily admit that it had the opposite effect,” Orr said in the email.
The email also stated that HPISD will continue to seek further transparency in literature selection. As a step in that direction, more information on how books are chosen has been posted online. There’s also a Q&A. Parents will also receive permission forms for books with questionable material, and an alternative will be selected should the parent express concern regarding that text.
One formal request regarding one of the originally banned books has been received regarding The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein. A “reconsideration committee” will be chosen to review it and make a recommendation on its use. That committee will be made up of 10 members including parents, faculty, staff, and counselors.
“We are encouraged to see that several students are interested in serving, and we plan to include them, as well,” the email stated.
Access to the “challenged material,” as it is labeled, will not be limited during the review process.