KATY – The Katy Independent School District said it has “temporarily” removed an award-winning children’s author’s books from its library shelves after an outcry from parents saying the subject promotes critical race theory.
Jerry Craft is the author and illustrator of “New Kid” and its sequel “Class Act”.
He is the winner of the Newberry Medal 2020, the Coretta Scott King Author Award and the Kirkus Prize.
The Craft website describes the books, which feature young black boys, as an “honest graphic novel about starting over in a new school where diversity is low and the struggle to fit in is real” and as a laugh. out loud funny, powerful and important story of being one of the few children of color in a prestigious private school ”.
According to the website, Universal Pictures acquired the film rights to New kid, with LeBron James’ The Spring Hill Company on board to develop and produce.
A flyer sent out at the start of the school year touted Craft’s October 4 virtual tour with Grades 3 to 5 students at Roosevelt Alexander Elementary School.
An amended flyer sent to parents on Friday said parents and guardians can remove their students from the visit.
A district spokeswoman told KPRC 2 that 30 parents withdrew on Monday.
But that option came just as a now-deleted petition on Change.org began circulating calling for the district to cancel the virtual tour and ban books.
“This is inappropriate educational material,” said Bonnie Anderson, a parent, a former Katy ISD school board candidate and a party in a lawsuit against the district’s mask mandate.
Anderson says the petition garnered 500 signatures before saying it was withdrawn for violating Change.org community guidelines.
“They are pointed at white children displaying micro-aggression towards children of color. The books don’t say, “We want white children to feel like oppressors,” but that’s absolutely what they will do, “Anderson said.
Omerly Sanchez said his two children, who are biracial, were already fans of the books and his son in particular could relate to the theme of the books, struggling to fit in. She told KPRC 2 that her children are eagerly awaiting the virtual tour. with an author who “looks like them”.
Sanchez was disappointed with the petition and the district’s handling of the situation.
“They want to live in this bubble. They are uncomfortable touching the subject. They’re uncomfortable knowing they’re part of the problem, ”Sanchez said.
In September, Governor Greg Abbott passed a bill banning the teaching of critical race theory in K-12 public schools.
“A teacher cannot teach that an individual because of their gender or race is inherently racist, sexist or oppressive,” Bill co-author Republican Rep. Steve Toth of The Woodlands said in a statement. interview in May with KPRC 2.
The researchers said the critics got it all wrong about critical race theory.
“Critical race theory is certainly not about teaching white children that they are inherently racist. It is really about understanding how institutional racism is instituted in society, organizations and government,” Darius said. Benton, an assistant professor at the University of Houston Downtown who contributed a book on critical breed theory in 2021.
Craft did not respond to requests for comment from KPRC 2, but in a tweet responding to parents asking why his visit was canceled and his books potentially banned, he responded with question marks, a shrugging emoji, and wrote, “Apparently I’m teaching critical race theory.
The district said it will review the books and make a decision within the next 15 days.
In a statement to KPRC 2, Katy ISD spokesperson Laura Davis wrote:
“In accordance with Katy ISD policy, one day teaching activities are suspended until the exam takes place. The author was invited to present outside of the teaching day and the district is now working on it. “
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