Like many school districts across the state, Spring Branch ISD has a system to submit complaints about any content to which children may have access. Now, concerned parents say the system meant to protect children is being abused by liberals who want to clog the system to “prevent real challenges from being heard.”
In January, concerned parents became aware of an unusual spike in book challenges taking place last year between October 16, and October 21. Of the 21 challenges issued during this period of time, at least 15 were issued on October 17. A concerned parent told Texas Scorecard these books do not include sexualized content, sodomy, or the glorification of violence.
Some of the known books are:
“Diary of a Wimpy Kid” by Jeff Kinney
“Magic Treehouse” by Mary Pope Osborne
“Peanut Butter and Jelly” by Dorothy Haas
“The Day the Crayons Quit” by Drew Daywalt
“The Art of War” by Sun Tzu
“Cucumber Quest: The Doughnut Kingdom” by Gigi D.G.
“Ready Player One” by Earnest Cline
“Wonder” by R.J. Palacio
One notable challenger was Diana Alexander, who lost the Democrat primary runoff for U.S. House District TX-38 in May 2022. She also failed to secure a spot as the Democrat candidate for Harris County’s third precinct.
Another challenger was Noel Lezama, who failed to win a seat on Spring Branch’s school board in 2018.
Nadia Alarakhia and her husband, Naeem, also contributed to the challenges on October 17. Public records indicate that Nadia is related to Amin Mitha, who was on the board of directors of a company called Emgage. The company was the recipient of $1 million from George Soro’s Open Society Policy Center. Amin Mitha also made a $2,000 contribution to Families 4 Every Child PAC from Lakeland Florida, despite the fact that Families 4 Every Child purports to represent parents in SBISD.
In the case of “Peanut Butter and Jelly,” the book was challenged because “talking animals that have adventures is unrealistic.”
For the challenge against “Diary of a Wimpy Kid,” the reasoning against the book was, “I noticed it brought guilt and shame to those not on a sports team. This is unfair.”
In “Cucumber Quest: The Doughnut Kingdom,” the complaint was simple: “Will encourage unhealthy eating habits.”
While not mentioned in Spring Branch’s protocol relating to challenged materials, a concerned parent explained that the district places challenged books on “restricted access” until the challenge is resolved. Because of this rule, and the current challenge against “The Day the Crayons Quit,” Hunters Creek Elementary School was forced to delay the anticipated performance of a play inspired by the book.
A concerned parent, outraged by the abuse, exclaimed that “[coordinated clogging] is hurting kids” and that even if there were genuine challenges against “The Day the Crayons Quit,” they “seem pretty insane … I don’t know how that’s possible.”
They added that they wanted to share this information so voters “know what’s going on.”
Texas Scorecard reached out to the principal of Hunter’s Creek Elementary, but we have not yet received a comment.