Brenham ISD pulls 32 books from high school library after resident complaints

The district established a reconsideration committee to evaluate each title.
The list includes titles from romance and fantasy authors such as Colleen Hoover and Sarah J. Maas.
Published: Nov. 2, 2023 at 6:10 PM CDT|Updated: Nov. 2, 2023 at 6:25 PM CDT
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BRENHAM, Texas (KBTX) - The Brenham High School library pulled 32 books from circulation after two residents raised concerns about their content during an Oct. 16 board of trustees meeting.

The titles will undergo a formal review process to decide whether or not they’ll be allowed back on library shelves.

Brenham residents Brit and Eddie Colanter asked for the review during the public comment portion of last month’s meeting. The two say the books contain material that is inappropriate for high school students.

“Parents are not even aware or present when their kids are being exposed to this perverted, quote, ‘literature,’” Brit said.

During the meeting, Brit read a passage from the novel Lucky by Alice Sebold, which she says contains the “most graphic material of all the books up for reconsideration.” The full board of trustees meeting is linked here.

The 1999 memoir details Sebold’s experience of being sexually assaulted during her freshman year of college. Before she began reading, Brit remarked that she hoped ‘no kids are [in here].’

The Colanters are no longer Brenham ISD parents, but they live in the district and say they have a responsibility to intervene.

“These appalling, sexually explicit books must be removed to protect our children,” she said in the meeting.

In a press release shared Tuesday, the district said their policy is to remove books from circulation while they’re being reviewed. Several documents posted to Brenham ISD’s website say books should not be removed while under reconsideration. Their Library Policy Manual encourages readers to return and check out other materials if they find a book offensive, however, the district’s Instructional Resources policy clearly allows for the removal of materials deemed vulgar or without educational suitability.

Brit provided KBTX with the complete selection of challenged books. The list includes titles from romance and fantasy authors such as Colleen Hoover and Sarah J. Maas.

Following the formal complaint from Brit, the district established a reconsideration committee to examine the challenged titles. Their procedure is detailed below.

What Will This Review Process Look Like?

Our lead librarian, Charlotte Polk, and the high school campus librarian, Gwen Waller, in collaboration with the district’s Executive Director of Leading and Learning, Christine Johnson, have established a reconsideration committee. The committee, in accordance with our library policy, includes a school library media specialist, a teacher, a school administrator, and a member of the community. This committee will thoroughly review the concerns presented, conduct an evaluation, and inform the librarians of their decision. Per the library policy the committee is allotted fifteen school days per book to review, and has to read each book in its entirety.

Brenham ISD

The complete list of books undergoing the reconsideration process is listed in alphabetical order below.

1The Poet XElizabeth Acevedo
2Clockwork Princess (The Infernal Devices series)Cassandra Clare
3Ready Player OneErnest Cline
4Life is FunnyE.R. Frank
5GritGillian French
6HomegoingYaa Gyasi
7All Your PerfectsColleen Hoover
8ConfessColleen Hoover
9HopelessColleen Hoover
10It Ends with UsColleen Hoover
11It Starts with UsColleen Hoover
12Maybe NotColleen Hoover
13Maybe NowColleen Hoover
14Maybe SomedayColleen Hoover
15November 9Colleen Hoover
16Point of RetreatColleen Hoover
17VerityColleen Hoover
18BurnedEllen Hopkins
19Monday’s Not ComingTiffany D. Jackson
20A Court of Frost and StarlightSarah J. Maas
21A Court of Silver FlamesSarah J. Maas
22A Court of Thorns and RosesSarah J. Maas
23A Court of Wings and RuinSarah J. Maas
24Empire of StormsSarah J. Maas
25House of Earth and BloodSarah J. Maas
26A Game of Thrones: The Graphic Novel: Volume 2George R. R. Martin, Daniel Abraham
27A Game of Thrones: The Graphic Novel: Volume 4George R. R. Martin, Daniel Abraham
28A Clash of KingsGeorge R. R. Martin
29A Game of ThronesGeorge R. R. Martin
30Living Dead GirlElizabeth Scott
31LuckyAlice Sebold
32The Lovely BonesAlice Sebold

The Brenham ISD Library Policies and Procedures Manual, as well as the Brenham ISD Library Services Censorship guidelines are listed below. To view the BISD library selection criteria, click here. To see the district’s guidelines for handling complaints, click here.