Updated: Apr 25
March 15, 2023
Travis County, TX – When citizens engage with their local governing bodies, they have the power to bring about positive changes in their communities.
This was the case in Travis County Texas, where the Lake Travis Independent School District (LTISD) has identified problems with their library policies, thanks to efforts of engaged parents and members of their community. For over a year, parents in the LTISD have been addressing the district’s current library book policies and its subsequent shortcomings. During the Board of Trustee’s regular meeting in February, members of the community including Travis County Citizens Defending Freedom (CCDF-Travis), spoke in support of revising district policy. Many of those who spoke read sexually explicit excerpts from books that were found on school library shelves and strongly encouraged the Trustees to revise the policy. Executive Director for CCDF-Travis, Cindy Najera, addressed concerns that citizens were attempting to ban books. She stated “We are not trying to ban books. Parents can still go buy these books at Barnes & Noble, or Target, or Walmart. We just don’t want kids getting them at school paid for by taxpayer funds.”
The district’s current policy, which was enacted in 2017, is not easily accessible to parents, and permits a challenged book to be kept in circulation while under review. Only the student whose parent submitted a complaint will be protected from the challenged material. Additionally, books that are purchased for district shelves are not reviewed by their media center specialists until they have arrived on school campuses. By that time, taxpayer funds have already been spent on highly inappropriate material that will undoubtedly make their way into the hands of children.
Now, thanks to the determination and diligence of Lake Travis community members, the Board of Trustees will be reviewing current policy to improve transparency, clarity, and accessibility for parents who wish to challenge inappropriate books in school libraries. “We have a balancing act, right?” Said Vice President of the Board, Bob Dorsett, Jr. “One, we need to provide literature that allows our children to advance and grow, and grow into young adults. But on the same token, many of those children are younger, and our job is to protect them.”
CCDF-Travis wishes to extend their gratitude to the LTISD Trustee members who have listened to the voices of their constituents, and are working to protect students in the Lake Travis community.