Brownsville ISD removes 5 books from libraries, reviews others

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The Brownsville Independent School District has removed five books from its libraries after activists raised concerns related to House Bill 900 during the public comment period at the May 21 Board of Trustees meeting.

Gov. Greg Abbott signed HB 900 into law in September, although there is uncertainty about its implementation, according to the Texas Library Association.

The law seeks to rid school libraries of inappropriate books by requiring book vendors to rate materials. For now, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has blocked the Texas Education Agency from enforcing portions of the law.

On May 16, a group associated with Pastor Luis Cabrera, national director of Latino Faith with the organization Remnant Alliance, met with BISD Superintendent Jesus H. Chavez.

In a Facebook post, Cabrera characterized the meeting as “another huge victory for our kids at BISD,” and said the district had started to remove inappropriate books from school libraries.

“It’s amazing to see God move and when a school district does the right thing for our kids,” the post stated.

BISD Chief Operations Officer Nellie Cantu said BISD was given a list of 24 books, five of which have been removed, and that only one of them had been checked out in the last 10 years.

“The remaining 19 are being evaluated as we speak by a committee of librarians to look at the language and so forth. We’re having reviews to make sure what we have in our libraries is appropriate for our children,” she said after a budget committee meeting on Wednesday.

The five removed books include:

>> “Jay’s Gay Agenda”

>> “It’s Perfectly Normal”

>> “Juliet Takes a Breath”

>> “Flamer,” and

>> “The Big Question Book of Sex and Consent”

On Facebook, Cabrera posted that BISD had already begun work of a list of some 600 books, although questions remain about the list’s origins.

“It’s a generic list that’s used,” the pastor’s office stated. “Some districts have some books, other districts have others. This is the smallest list. It doesn’t cover all the inappropriate books.”