Book Challenge and Reconsideration Process
To challenge a book or other resource, please complete and submit the Request for Reconsideration of Instructional Resource form. Upon submission, you will be contacted by a District representative to begin the reconsideration process.
The information below provides the State of Texas Legal Framework (EF Legal) as well as Lake Travis ISD policies (EF Local) to help the community better understand the process for the reconsideration of any instructional resource.
Who can challenge a book or instructional resource?
EF (LOCAL): A parent of a District student, any employee, or any District resident may formally challenge an instructional resource used in the District’s educational program on the basis of appropriateness.
What is the reconsideration process?
EF (LOCAL): Informal Reconsideration
- The principal or designee shall explain the school’s selection process, the criteria for selection, and the qualifications of the professional staff who selected the questioned resource.
- The principal or designee shall explain the intended educational purpose of the resource and any additional information regarding its use.
- If appropriate, the principal or designee may offer a concerned parent an alternative instructional resource to be used by that parent’s child in place of the challenged resource.
- If the complainant wishes to make a formal challenge, the principal or designee shall provide the complainant a copy of this policy and a form to request a formal reconsideration of the resource.
EF (LOCAL): Formal Reconsideration
A complainant shall make any formal objection to an instructional resource on the form provided by the District and shall submit the completed and signed form to the principal. Upon receipt of the form, the principal shall appoint a reconsideration committee. The reconsideration committee shall include at least one member of the instructional staff who has experience using the challenged resource with students or is familiar with the challenged resource’s content. Other members of the committee may include District-level staff, library staff, secondary-level students, parents, and any other appropriate individuals. All members of the committee shall review the challenged resource in its entirety. As soon as reasonably possible, the committee shall meet and determine whether the challenged resource conforms to the principles of selection set out in this policy. The committee shall prepare a written report of its findings and provide copies to the principal, the Superintendent or designee, and the complainant.
EF (LOCAL): Appeal
What does the formal reconsideration committee consider when making a decision?
Students’ First Amendment rights are implicated by the removal of books from the shelves of a school library. A school district cannot remove materials from a library for the purpose of denying students access to ideas with which the district disagrees. A district may remove materials because they are pervasively vulgar or based solely upon the educational suitability of the books in question. Bd. of Educ. v. Pico, 457 U.S. 853 (1982)
The committee decides if a book is educationally suitable or pervasively vulgar by determining the appropriateness of the resource for its intended educational use. No challenged instructional resource shall be removed solely because of the ideas expressed therein. Book review committee members are selected in compliance with school board policy EF (LOCAL). The district intends to select parental representation to include multiple points of view. Two parent volunteers are selected from recommendations. These parents must have a student at the campus on which the library resource is being challenged. Together with the director of curriculum and instruction and the librarian(s) who currently have the challenged book in their campus library collection, they comprise the committee for each challenged library resource.
Lake Travis ISD is in the process of reviewing policies EF (LEGAL) and EF (LOCAL) in relation to current processes and procedures. Lake Travis ISD is also currently evaluating processes and procedures when considering educational suitability in addition to age and content appropriateness.