The library at Houston’s Lockhart Elementary had been a refuge for 8-year-old Sydney, who has struggled because of dyslexia. The school’s librarian, Cheryl Hensley, curated a space that encouraged her to read.
But now Texas has taken over Houston’s public school district, and her refuge has been repurposed as a space to be used in part for discipline. While students can still check out books, there will be no one to guide them. Hensley, the librarian, is gone.
“I’m hurt … and now to know that Ms. Hensley is no longer on the campus, the library has been shuttered?” said Sydney’s mother, Lauren Simmons. “I’m at a point where, do I take my baby to school Monday because what’s going to happen to her?”
Simmons as well as other parents, teachers, students and local officials have expressed anxiety and fear over what to expect as the new school year begins Monday. The new state-installed superintendent, Mike Miles, said his message to teachers and parents is about hope as well as the need for dramatic change.