A book about a slave’s grandson who learned to read at the age of 98 is currently under review at the Southlake School, which is named after him.
Life Is So Beautiful tells the story of George Dawson’s life, from segregation and the civil rights movement to learning to read at the age of 98. This is one of about 10 books that Carroll ISD reviews.
Social media posts circulating this week suggest that the high school that bears his name has banned it.
But Brandi Egan, regional communications coordinator, said in a statement that the book was not banned or revised as part of the region’s challenge process.
Egan notes that one teacher wanted to use it as required reading in seventh grade. This summer, along with other required reading requirements, it was reviewed by a panel of teachers, principals and district curriculum coordinators.
“We have determined that the content of some of the chapters in this book is inappropriate for this age group,” Egan wrote. She added that the process of evaluating which parts of the book fit is still ongoing. “To our knowledge, the book was not used for teaching last year.”
A book review to be used in journalism classes was “submitted” before the committee could speak with the principal, the district document said.
Generally, school districts have different processes for approving materials used in classrooms and other materials for placement in the library.
The materials that are part of the Course Usage Review are not necessarily provided to students in accordance with applicable school district policy.
Southlake has a George Dawson High School. The grandson of a slave, he learned to read at 98 and co-authored a book about his life at 103. The book is currently banned from the high school that bears his name. https://t.co/DUyA0YLuaJ pic.twitter.com/DktNI10Ybm
Some in the community remain concerned and have stated on social media that the county is using semantics to not say the book is banned.
The review comes as more books, especially those that tell stories about people of color or LGBT characters, are challenging schools.
Dawson gained worldwide attention with his 2000 memoir and has been featured on the Discovery Channel, Oprah, Nightline and in People magazines. The grandson of a slave, he became a spokesman for literacy before his death in 2001 at the age of 103.
Opened in 2002, the campus was named after Dawson at the suggestion of former Carroll School trustee Jerry Lawrence. He was inspired by his son, who heard Dawson speak while promoting his memoirs.
Carroll ISD is under a federal civil rights investigation by the Department of Education investigating allegations of discrimination at a Southlake school in November 2021.
The wealthy, predominantly white neighborhood became a symbol of the school’s opposition to critical racial theories.
It drew nationwide attention after an administrator encouraged faculty to teach students about the Holocaust from an “opposite” perspective, according to a recording obtained by NBC News.
The survey was one of three conducted by the federal government last year in a school district that has been at the center of an ongoing storm over how to deal with diversity and inclusion.
The DMN Education Lab deepens reporting and conversations on pressing educational issues critical to the future of North Texas.
The DMN Education Lab is a community-funded journalism initiative supported by the Baker Group, Texas Community Foundation, Dallas Foundation, Dallas Chamber of Commerce, Deedie Rose, Garrett and Cecilia Boone, Meadows Foundation, and The Meadows Foundation. Murrell Foundation, Solution Journalists Network, Southern Methodist University, Todd A. Williams Family Foundation, and the University of Texas at Dallas. Dallas Morning News retains full editorial control of Education Lab news.
Megan Mangrum, staff writer. Megan is a reporter for the Dallas Morning News Education Lab. She previously covered education and children in Tennessee, first for the Chattanooga Times Free Press and later for the USA TODAY Network Tennessee. A native of Florida, Megan attended graduate school at the University of Florida.
Post time: Aug-31-2022