Katy ISD is pausing the purchases of new school library books.
On Monday the district’s Board of Trustees voted to place new books already coming in to storage at most of their schools, so a committee can evaluate them before they’re placed on shelves.
This comes as the district has made headlines over book restrictions in the past year. Students must now have parental permission to check out books from classroom libraries.
Some board members said Monday they have concerns that certain materials may be sexually explicit.
Justin Graham, General Council for Katy ISD, proposed the idea to the board. He mentioned H.B. 900, which would ban what would be considered sexually explicit materials from school libraries and require parental consent for certain books with sexual references to be accessed. The legislation recently passed the Texas Legislature.
“If we feel strongly enough that hey, we’re gonna wait until those vendors have gone through and labeled their books accordingly,” Graham said. “Then perhaps we don’t purchase any more books in this district until we have an adequate state approved list by those vendors.”
The only books that would not have to go under rigorous review are those going to the district’s newest schools, which will be opening for the first time this year. The board said it wants those schools to have functioning libraries.
Victor Perez, board president, claimed the district currently has sexually explicit books on its shelves despite its policy of books being reviewed by a board.
“It appears that we are buying, or [there are] sexually explicit books pending to be purchased,” he said. “On that point, I agree that, yes, what would be wrong with pausing the purchasing of books unless they’re essential, or required for the new campuses. Then we just stop the purchase of all books.”
Superintendent Ken Gregorski agreed.
“That can be done immediately, beginning tomorrow, that we just redirect those purchases to the warehouse,” he said. “And they will just sit in the warehouse until we figure this out.”