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28 Houston Schools Convert Libraries into Disciplinary Centers

August 2, 2023 | By Kali Girl

According to The Guardian, the largest school district in Texas, Houston Independent School District, has announced a controversial decision for the upcoming school year.

To implement Superintendent Mike Miles’s “new education system” initiative, 28 schools will see their libraries removed and replaced with discipline centers. This move comes amidst the state’s takeover of the district due to its poor academic performance.

Under the new plan, teachers will have the option to send misbehaving students to these discipline centers, also referred to as “team centers,” where they will continue their learning remotely.

Superintendent Miles stated: “I am overwhelmingly proud that this many HISD school leaders are ready to take bold action to improve outcomes for all students and eradicate the persistent achievement and opportunity gaps in our district.”

In a recent interview with KPRC2, Lisa Robinson, a retired librarian from the school district, expressed deep concern as “heart is just broken for these children that are in the [NES] schools that are losing their librarians.”

Houston’s mayor, Sylvester Turner, strongly criticized the district’s decision, emphasizing that denying access to books, particularly in underserved communities, is not a solution to addressing behavioral conduct issues.

He said: “Are there students who need additional support? Yes, and I am 100% supportive of that. But it’s not an eithe/or. You don’t close the libraries, remove the librarians, and simply have the books on the shelf. What about all the other students? What are you saying to them?”

He continued: “With all due respect to the superintendent, I grew up in this city. I still live in the same neighborhood that exists. I am the mayor of this city, and I am the mayor of every person who lives in the city of Houston.”

Turner made an appeal to open school libraries and ensure equal opportunities for all students within the district was made, emphasizing the risk of a two-tiered system. Additionally, it urged the provision of extra assistance to students requiring support.

The Houston independent school district has yet to address the matter in response to the request for comment.

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