Trustees Sheri Mills and Eric Lannen were absent from the meeting.
The split book policy separates instructional and classroom materials, known as EFA, and library materials, known as EFB, under two policies. The Texas Education Agency released the new policy options for districts to follow in April.
The EFB policy for library books adds an additional caveat for selection criteria. All books under EFB must not include “harmful books,” according to the proposed policy provided by CISD. In the policy, harmful books are defined as having a dominant theme that appeal to a “prurient,” or excessive, interest in sex or nudity, are offensive to the prevailing standards of the adult community in regard to what is appropriate for minors and have no redeeming social value for minors.
The split policy also has a parent review section for both classroom and library materials. Whenever a parent or community member challenges a book, a committee from the district has 10 days to review the material. A book challenged under EFA would be taken out of rotation for a year before reconsideration is possible.
When books under EFB are successfully challenged they must be removed from rotation for five years under CISD’s new policy. The original policy TEA presented at the board's July 11 special workshop initially required challenged books to be removed for 10 years before they could be reconsidered again.
At the workshop, Trustees Michelle Moore and Lannen brought up concerns over the time length under EFB. Moore said waiting a “decade” to reconsider a book did not “seem right.” The policy presented at the July 25 meeting reduced the removal time to five years.
Moore recommended revising the policy again to three years as she was concerned a challenge would not be for a book being “vulgar or inappropriate,” but rather for “ideological” reasons. Trustees Andrew Yeager and Hannah Smith voiced support for the five-year time length.
“This is a very robust policy that applies a lot of procedural safeguards for anyone who is concerned that there could have been bias by the original committee that reviewed the book,” Smith said in the meeting.