The Texas chapter of the ACLU, perhaps the most socialistically communistic group outside of the Obama administration, has released its annual report on attempts to ban books in schools.
The bad news: HISD tied for second in the state in the number of challenged books. The good news: The number of challenges dropped dramatically, from 20 last year to a half-dozen this year. (The leader was Stephenville, with 11 challenged books.)
We'll give you the list of HISD challenges after the jump, but it's noteworthy that the ACLU had some harsh criticism for the way the district goes about hearing challenges.
"In this key district," the ACLU said, "we discovered what is safe to call a complete failure in policy, record-keeping and government transparency. When asked to provide records of their review committee hearings and membership roles, representatives of HISD were forced to admit that no such records are kept."
(We're getting a response from HISD and will update.)
So what got challenged? And what got banned?
Here's the books, the school, the reasons for the challenge and the outcome:
Freak Show by James St. James. A challenge at Foerster Elementary for "Profanity; Violence or horror; Offensive to religious sensitivities; Politically, racially, or socially offensive" It was banned.
Speak by Laurie Anderson. At Windsor Village Elementary. Profanity. Banned.
Tamar by Mel Peet. Foerster Elementary. Profanity. Banned.
La Cocina de Noche by Maurice Sendak. Golfcrest Elementary. Sexual content or nudity. Banned.
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Getting It by Alex Sanchez. Johnston Middle School. Sexual content or nudity. Retained.
The Westing Game by Ellen Ruskin. Brookline Elementary. Violence of horror. Use restricted.
Update: Here's HISD response:
Every year the district freely complies with requests from the ACLU regarding requests for reconsideration received during the year. No one has required that the district maintain or record these proceedings or that the membership of the committees be maintained as a public record. Our library collections district-wide number over a million volumes. We are pleased that the only six books in a district our size were challenged according to the 2008-2009 report. Certainly in our state, the incidents of book objections are decreasing in all districts including HISD.