Happy Monday everyone!
Today I’m sharing an article I wrote dealing with the issue of censorship in schools. Here’s the article.
Two books on this school’s summer reading list, Prep (Curtis Sittenfeld) and The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test (Tom Wolfe) were contested at a school board meeting by parents who called the material “pornographic” and “inappropriate,” among other things.
It turned into a pretty big deal, and tons of national groups got involved in the issue of constitutionality of banning these books. Also, to add fuel to the fire, the conversation erupted the week before National Banned Books Week! Some of the agencies that got involved were: National Coalition Against Censorship; American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression; Comic Book Legal Defense Fund; Association of American Publishers; Independent Book Publishers Association; National Council of Teachers of English; and PEN American Center.
Now, from covering the story for many more board meetings after the initial complaint, I became interested and rented Prep from the library. Personally, I didn’t think it was that horrible, especially compared to what’s on the radio, TV, magazines, etc. But I can see how, to an unsuspecting and naive tween, the content could be a little jarring. I’ve never read Wolfe’s book, but just from the title alone, I think it’s clear that the content may be a little controversial, which should have alerted parents from the start.
The district ended up taking the books of their optional summer reading lists, but the titles are both still available in the library (story about that resolution here).
Personally, I’m against any kind of censorship of literature. It’s a slippery slope from censoring one or two books here and there to eventually becoming a Fahrenheit 451 society. But I also understand that schools are have a responsibility to parents and can’t just ignore their voices. As someone with a background in education, I think the school’s resolution is a good compromise (students can still check the books out of the library).
What do you think? Let me know in the comments.