Photo credits: Anissa Hidouk
A top-ranked New York Times bestselling novel about police brutality and systemic racism against black people has been banned by a public school district in Texas for a highly questionable reason.
According to Quartz Media, The Hate You Give, a book by Angie Thomas (pictured) was pulled from all the library shelves in the Katy Independent School District in Texas. This drastic move was prompted by a white father who attended a school board forum last month, which was open to the public.
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The father has two children who attend Memorial Parkway Junior High in Katy, Texas. At last month’s forum, he claimed that one of his children came to him with the book and he became “appalled” after reading the first 13 pages. “My question is, ‘Who reviews the books that goes into our junior high schools?’” he asked while attending the forum.
“This is absolutely crazy,” the father continued after reading quotes from the book out loud.
In a precipitous fashion after last month’s forum, the administrators of the Katy Independent School District ordered the removal of every copy of The Hate You Give from all of its junior high and high school libraries district-wide. Maria DiPetta, a manager of media relations tried to play down the district’s controversial decision.
“[Our ban is] based solely on pervasive vulgarity, not based on substantive content or any message that’s been relayed in this book,” DiPetta said in an exclusive interview with Quartz Media. However, many parents of minority students who are enrolled in the Katy public school district are not buying DiPetta’s watered-down explanation.
The school district’s board acted unilaterally and did not involve the use of procedures, which have been laid out by the school district Superintendent. The book’s author made a post on social media condemning the ban on her National Book Award-winning fictional piece.
“I’m saddened to hear that a school district in Texas banned #TheHateUGive, but I’m also empowered – you’re basically telling the kids of the Garden Heights of the world that their stories shouldn’t be told. Well, I’m going to tell them even louder. Thanks for igniting the fire,” Thomas tweeted.
Quartz Media also reported that it was not clear whether or not the ban on this book would be permanent.
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