Last November, Cameron Samuels was met with cold stares when they attended a school board meeting to speak out against bans on LGBTQ books and resource websites in their district…
Now [Houston’s] Katy ISD students involved in the movement Samuels helped start are trying to push forward a book review policy, which would ensure at least one student is represented on the committee whenever a book is challenged in the district.
Katy ISD is just one of many school districts where students have begun pushing back against book bans. Recently, schools across the US have begun challenging—and in some cases successfully removing—a growing list of books from LGBTQ and Black authors. Some librarians have found themselves targeted for creating book displays featuring LGBTQ titles. And right-wing groups like Moms For Liberty have been organizing around the country to ban books they deem “obscene” from schools, and even make them illegal to sell or lend to minors…
Jonathan Friedman, director of free expression and education programs at PEN America says he is seeing youth voices play a critical role in book ban opposition.
“At a time when many teachers and librarians are having their speech chilled, it is often students who are leading the charge and speaking out for their rights—as they should,” Friedman told Motherboard.
I can empathize. BITD, as a night school student in profession-oriented college courses, simple self-interest pushed me into similar activism. Not often; but, often enough to identify me as a PITA to a few teachers and administrators, who felt they had a vested interest in blocking any doorway that allowed the entry of up-to-date textbooks.