Education is not politics: Stop banning books

Regina Robert, Staff Writer

The public education system in the United States is widely considered the greatest opportunity that could ever be presented to a child. Families often do everything they can just to hope that their children will be able to sit in a classroom that will provide them with the highest education. But what happens when that same classroom bans the only source that helps children feel like they belong?

Earlier this year, North East Independent School District (NEISD) released a list of books that were reviewed and updated from public school libraries. The review came after Matt Krause — a member of the Texas House of Representatives — created a list of books that should be reviewed or removed from school libraries because they may address race, sex or identity. 

It is not surprising news that the Texas Education Agency (TEA) has made decisions that create bans or limitations on education that represent multiple points of view. This ban of books serves as a reminder of the law passed in June 2021 by Governor Abbott that outlawed the teaching of Critical Race Theory (CRT). This is not progress toward a better state but a diminishment of the negative experiences minorities have faced throughout Texas history.

After reading the list of books reviewed by NEISD, it was concluded that the main topic addressed was sexual orientation and gender identity. It might not seem political to many, but it is homophobic. While it is understandable that because these books contain graphic violence and assault related to hate crimes, they could be considered inappropriate for certain ages. It is not acceptable for it to be kept away from the people who are experiencing similar situations. Identity is one of the most common and impactful issues that young adults deal with. As a teenager, it is hard to find comfort and identity in books, especially when only one or two demographics are constantly represented. But when the books that are written by and for underrepresented groups of people are considered inappropriate, it just hurts. It actively hurts and affects people who are having trouble putting their feelings into thoughts and those thoughts into words and voicing those words.

To ban books that address and create conversation about sexuality and identity is a hateful act. Matt Krause may think that he is protecting students from violence, but he is not. All he is doing is making children more afraid.