(AUSTIN, Texas) — As many school districts across the country continue to ban books, students are beginning to fight back by organizing protests and creating their own spaces to read and discuss these books.
Sophomores Ella Scott and Alyssa Hoy of Austin, Texas, are two of many students leading the charge with The Vandergrift High School Banned Book Club.
“We started this club so that we can learn because high school is a place of learning,” Scott told GMA. “And that’s why these books were here in the first place.”
At Vandergrift High School — where Scott and Hoy are students and which is under the Leander Independent School District — nearly two dozen books were removed from certain grades, libraries and book clubs last spring.
Many of the books on the list deal with race, sexuality and finding yourself.
Across the country, nearly 1,600 books were pulled from shelves in 26 states in the last year, according to nonprofit organization Pen America.
“It’s somebody’s story and people need to learn about it and be OK talking about it,” Hoy said.
School officials told ABC News that Leander Independent School District “has not banned books,” and that, instead, books go through a “process” if they are submitted for a review. District officials can then decide if a book should be returned to the shelves and in what capacity.
The school district also said it “believes in allowing students to have the opportunity to voice their thoughts.”
Hoy and Scott aren’t the only ones on a mission to bring back certain books to school libraries.
In Missouri, two students recently filed a class-action lawsuit against their district for banning books they say contain “the perspective of an author or protagonist who is non-white, LGBTQ+ or otherwise identifies as a minority.” Some of the books have since been put back on shelves.
“I think [it] scares them,” Scott said about officials banning certain books. “I think just because it doesn’t happen to you, it has happened to others.”
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