The Conroe ISD board of trustees discussed how to create more transparency in its book review process during a March 19 board meeting.

What happened

Trustee Stacey Chase requested discussion on the complaint process for parents who want to weigh in on decisions that were made to remove library books and instructional material.

Chase said she has been contacted by parents wanting to know what recourse they had if they objected to the challenged books that were removed.

"If you want to challenge a book, you have the formal reconsideration ... where it goes to reconsideration committee, appealed and then to the board," she said. "The other way to challenge a book is through the informal reconsideration, which consists of sending an email saying, 'Please look at this book. I don't agree with this book,' and then the district has 10 days to respond."

Chase said parents were seeking options for additional recourse.

"So, the question came up that, 'If I don't agree with that removal, especially through the informal reconsideration, what is my recourse? What can I do to challenge it or object?" Chase said.

Chase said she wanted the following board discussion to address three issues:
  1. The language of the book removal policy
  2. The addition of question and answers to the frequently asked questions section of the website
  3. What to do if someone wants to remove an informal reconsideration decision
What's changing?

After a lengthy discussion with board members and CISD Superintendent Curtis Null, the district on March 19 decided on a few ways to bring more transparency and faster updates to the reconsideration process.
  • Staff could add the reason for a book removal to the list on the website
  • Establish a specific day each month the list is updated
  • Give a 15-day period where a challenge can be submitted for a book
  • Add instructions on how to challenge an informal review to the district's FAQ
"This discussion was powerful because now we have said it publicly that the complaint process is the way to go," Null said. "If we make the adjustments to the website then people can see it as well. This conversation, including it on the website, will help bring the process forward."