Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Censorship in Public School Libraries

I think modern iconoclasm can be seen when books are banned from public school libraries. Parents feel that they should have control over the things their children are exposed to and which may affect the way their children grow and mature. Many books are banned from libraries because they contain what is deemed inappropriate language, such as cursing or the use of works such as "nigger". What a shame that kids are missing "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn". Books such as "Black Beauty" are being removed from shelves because it contains cruelty to animals. Books are also being banned because they contain sex, homosexuality, violence or even rebellious children. I feel that the parents role in a child's life is to guide them and teach them to make good, sound decisions on their own. If we put an invisible bubble around "Little Johnny" so that he doesn't get exposed to all the "awful" things in the world, are we really helping him? Children have the ability to learn so much at an early age, it could be much harder for them to be bombarded with the sins of the world at a later age when parents have a less active role in their day-to-day lives. Although the intentions are good, maybe it is time to look to the future and explore the consequences of our actions. The very say parents who are trying to protect their child may be doing more harm than good. Possibly a better approach is to simply guide our children.

Most schools have guidelines for the selection of books for their libraries. Even though this example is followed, there is a policy for parents, teachers or others to protest the placement of a book on the shelves. Typically, it is a long, drawn out procedure. Adults who feel very strongly and have a lot of patience will follow this procedure and sometimes be rewarded with the removal of the book. Some people like to take the short road and simply remove the book themselves by slipping it off the shelf and out of the library! I find it interesting that they really don't seem to have a moral objection to theft!

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