HARRIS COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) — A book called “The Black Friend, On Being a Better White Person” has been banned from Spring Branch ISD middle schools and placed in high schools.
Frederick Joseph, the book’s author, told ABC13 he was saddened by the district’s decision.
“I’m interested, and I’ve always been interested, since I worked full-time in sales, to move the needle on how we can improve humanity,” Joseph said. “It seems with the case of Spring Branch, they not only judged, but they also became the judges and the executioners for something that they did not think about.”
Joseph said he has heard from many Spring Branch ISD parents who support the book. At a district meeting on January 24, twenty parents urged the district to keep the book on the shelves without restrictions and criticized the decision, which they believe is not in the best interest of students.
“I realize this is an opportunity for some of you to make a political statement,” said Nathalie Turpin, a parent. “But, I encourage you to choose educational excellence for every child over continuing to divide our district.”
A parent named Cathy Elmore, asked the district to be open minded.
IMPORTANT: Another book has been removed from Spring Branch ISD while the book investigation is ongoing
“We have to share ideas and experiences, even if we don’t agree with them,” Elmore said.
The board, elected by the majority of Spring Branch residents, sided with those who thought the book was divisive and inappropriate.
“This book incited racism, hate speech, and promoted (racialism) and division under misleading circumstances,” Lindsay McConn, who spoke out against the book, said. .
According to district policy, “Library materials with restricted access will be moved to a restricted access area; however, the titles of library materials will remain visible,” and “If the committee makes the decision that the book is restricted to access, then written by the parent. / consent of the legal guardian will be required.”
Restricted books are on labeled shelves and can only be accessed with parental permission.
At Stratford High School, it’s not just “The Black Friend, Being a Good White Man,” but also classic titles like “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” and “The Handmaid’s Tale.” No one from the district was available Tuesday to comment on the proposed policy.
The book of Joseph is not taught in classrooms, so if they want to read it, students will have to search for it.
“It hurts,” Joseph said of his book. “First of all, because it devalues parents. It devalues teachers. Most importantly, it devalues students.”
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