Media’s Mishandling of Katy ISD Book Controversy Demonstrates Covering Katy’s Worth

OPINION/ANALYSIS

This week’s coverage of the Katy Independent School District book controversy is another example of why Covering Katy is needed in this community and why supporting us by subscribing makes sense. Some media didn’t cover the issue at all, and those that did missed the point altogether because they don’t comprehend the values of people who live in Katy.

“The Hate U Give” by Angie Thomas is a book about a 16-year-old girl who sees an unarmed friend being fatally shot by police during a routine traffic stop. The book is said to reinforce the concerns of the Black Lives Mater movement. She’s from a poor neighborhood and attends a suburban prep school. She feels conflicted, as if living a double life.

For Superintendent Lance Hindt the problem with the book is not the plot, it’s the language. It’s a pretty simple concept to understand unless you are a fact-twisting author who simply wants to stir up controversy so you can sell a few more books, or a national news source with preconceived notions about Texas school districts.

After a parent complained about the language, the book was temporarily taken off the shelves for review, it was not banned. In a social media post, author Thomas claimed the Katy School District had banned her book, which was not true. She noted that Katy was in Texas so that all the stereotypes about Texas could kick in and really get people around the world worked into a frenzy.

“We removed the book because it is our job as educators to determine what is age appropriate as far as what’s in our books,” Hindt said.

There are nearly 100 uses of the F-bomb in the book. The N-word and G.D. are prominently featured too. Still, there are some valuable life lessons in the book. So, Dr. Hindt was called upon to do his job and lead the district during a time when national pressure was being put on him to get down on his knees, beg for forgiveness, and simply put the book back on the shelf no questions asked.

This is a story with multiple layers of significance, beyond whether the book gets put back on Katy ISD library shelves. Dr. Hindt solved the problem with a three-word policy called “Informed Parental Consent.” Not a single story from the other media sources mentioned Informed Parental Consent, which means they missed the point completely. To them the story was only about whether the book was made available to students, but to the community it was also about how the book would be made available and what that means moving forward.

The story was about compromise without stripping parents of their right to have the final say over the books their kids check-out at a school library.

The story was about compromise without selling out a community’s values.

The story was about not ceding the moral high ground to people who look down their nose at Texas values.

The story was also about a superintendent having the strength to say “I respectfully disagree” to those who tried to claim “The Hate U Give” was nothing more than “a family-oriented book” that didn’t deserve a second look.

The story was about a school board that allowed their Superintendent to lead.

In summary, the story was about Informed Parental Consent, and of all your media choices, only Covering Katy understood what the story was all about.

So those who say they won’t subscribe to Covering Katy because they can read the same story elsewhere are wrong. They are saying they’re fine with reading news reporting that does not reflect reality. Even if you disagree with Informed Parental Concent, and think children should be allowed to check-out any book they want, you deserve to be made aware that the policy is now in place.  No other media told you that!

Many people say the media does respect their values, yet when one local news source comes along that understands, some of these same people say $1.25 per week is too much to pay when the same story can be found elsewhere. The truth is you won’t get the same story elsewhere when it’s a story that really matters.

This battle of news integrity can’t just be waged by Covering Katy alone. We need your involvement too.

To subscribe click My.CoveringKaty.com

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