BELTON, Texas — Belton ISD Board of Trustees Policy Committee voted unanimously to replace the EF(LOCAL) policy with two policies that address instructional materials and library materials separately. Policy EF (LOCAL) addresses instructional materials and EFB(LOCAL) addresses library materials.
The original EF (LOCAL) was 30 years old and most of the board agreed the policy revision was long overdue.
According to the Belton ISD website, here are the main points parents should know regarding the revised policy.
- Parent involvement in the library material reconsideration process is now required.
- Guidance is given in policy for administrators and staff selecting library materials.
- A parent has the tools and the ability to exercise control over library materials for her/his own child.
- During the reconsideration process, access to some books may be restricted. For example, books with graphic pictures will be removed from shelves and available only with parental permission.
- No challenged instructional materials will be removed solely because of the ideas expressed in them.
For a while, Belton parents have gone back and forth with officials at Belton ISD over inappropriate books available in district libraries.
Belton parent Hillary Hickland has been working with other parents to revise this policy but doesn't believe it will be as efficient as it needs to be.
"I can give a list to the librarian and say I don't want my child to read all these books but I don't know all the books that are in the library and in order to know about it, someone has to be exposed to it," Hickland explained.
A Belton grandparent Boyd Lecheminant still thinks more clarifications need to be made on this policy and just wants the best for his grandchildren.
"My worry is that it's a very busy world and a lot of us don't have time to monitor, that's the key word to monitor. The other is what is deposited inside of our children," Lecheminant shared.
Belton ISD board of trustees president Jeff Norwood says he understands that parents have a right to know what their children are reading and the policy is made to make that process more organized and easier.
"It gives parents and nonparents the right if they hear about a book or hear a book that they don't think should be in a library, instead of someone just arbitrarily at Belton ISD saying yes I agree let's pull it or no I don't agree, it's gonna go to a committee made up of other people," Norwood said.
Janet Leigh spoke on the behalf of the board saying this new policy revision is in no way a ban on books. She also mentioned how the board works very thoughtfully and intentionally on the First Amendment rights of students and the Texas penal code.