Who Should Decide What Books Should Be Banned From Schools? Teachers, Parents, School Board, The Community?


2 Answers

Robyn Rothman Profile
Robyn Rothman answered
No one has the right to ban any books. That's called censorship, and it is unconstitutional. It is a violation of the first amendment. If parents don't want their children to read certain material, that's up to them, but they have no right to decide what children other than their own may or may not read. This is not Nazi Germany or Communist China where great works of literature were once burned, and that's what this kind of censorship amounts to.

Why do so may people of this country always want to ban things they don't like? It violates the civil liberties of those who are not in agreement. It is a lazy way of dealing with things. Rather than exercise restraint or monitor their own children, they would prefer to deny choices to others. They are entirely too willing to allow the government or some other entity to decide what's good for everyone. The foundation of this country is based on the freedom to make our own choices. Giving up our freedoms to allow others to make decisions for us is irresponsible and just plain lazy.
Anna Phillips Profile
Anna Phillips answered
While robbier44's answer is great when talking about adults, the free market, and so on, it's not the same when it comes to our public schools.    Taxpayers have paid for the schools, the books, the staff, and so on, and want to have a say as to which books are available.    The courts at all levels have agreed that schools can practice limited censorship of both school libraries and school publications (student newspapers, yearbooks, etc.)    We're talking about minors/children who often need protection from some of the uglier aspects of society. School libraries don't carry Playboy, for example, and I don't hear cries of censorship.    The common list of 'banned' books (which can still be bought at any bookstore, so it's not as though they're unavailable) often include themes adults don't want to discuss with children. Huckleberry Finn, for example, includes depictions of slavery and uses words we find objectionable today (but common in most rap songs--hmmm). Harry Potter was nearly banned in my hometown because a woman was disturbed by the elements of magic in it.    I personally don't think either of these books (or any I can think of) should be banned, but if it becomes an issue in a community, the decision should be made by the school board with input from parents. They are elected or appointed for this very reason, so they should be allowed to do their job.    Parents who disagree with a book's removal can always read/discuss it with their children. Parents should also have the option to preview any reading list assigned to their children and the opportunity to opt out of objectionable books.
thanked the writer.
Robyn Rothman
Robyn Rothman commented
Not everyone can afford to buy books, and as far as Huckleberry Finn goes, it's a great book. Why shouldn't our children know how things once were? Are we now going to start to change school history books so kids won't have to know their country wasn't perfect? As I said, if parents don't want their kids to know something, let them censor the books they read. Those themes won't go away because parents don't want to discuss them.
Anna Phillips
Anna Phillips commented
Slow your roll and read again! :) I specifically said I didn't want to ban HF--I used to teach it! As far as buying books, I find classics for a dollar or two at book sales all the time, plus folks can go to a library.

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