Houston schools to turn libraries into rooms for punishment

  • Librarian roles at 28 schools have been eliminated
  • Libraries will become places teachers can send misbehaving students
  • The move comes after the Texas Education Agency took over the district

Library. Bookshelves with books and textbooks. Learning and education concept. (Getty Images)

(NewsNation) — At 28 schools in Houston, Texas, students will be losing their school libraries, with the spaces being turned into rooms for detention and punishments.

The change is part of the New Education System reform system put in place by Houston Independent School District Superintendent Mike Miles. Librarian and media specialist positions within those schools have also been eliminated.

Miles was appointed to the role after the Texas Education Agency took over the district in June, replacing democratically-elected school board members and the superintendent with state-appointed individuals.

The district said the other 57 schools that have opted into the program will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. The program is aimed specifically at underperforming schools and the 28 schools are primarily located in low and middle-income areas.

For students in the 28 schools, some library spaces will be converted into rooms where students who have misbehaved will attend virtual lessons alone or in groups. Books will still remain on the shelves and accessible to students before or after school hours, being available to borrow on the honor system.

A plan from previous superintendent Millard House II had the goal of putting a library in every school in the district. He also specifically pushed for the inclusion of librarians and other non-teaching positions, like school nurses, at all schools.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner criticized the move, pointing out that some schools would continue to have libraries serving students while others would instead have what the district is calling “team centers” for teachers to send misbehaving students for virtual instruction.

Miles has defended the move as “back to basics” measure that prioritizes funding for teachers.


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