The Controversy Over Banning Books

Murray, NEB – Books have been getting banned from school libraries throughout the United States since the 1980s. Yet, the topic has only now become more apparent to the media. There are mixed emotions on the subject as some see the good in it, while others see the harm it may cause.

Some argue that banning books is good because children need to have certain topics filtered out of their reach. Parents believe they should get a say in what they allow and don’t allow their children to read especially if they attend a public school. The thought behind this is that by banning books parents will be given the chance to discuss these challenging topics with their children in the manner that they prefer.

School libraries ban books that they see to have mature content that is not suitable for a specific age group. Books are banned for a variety of reasons such as profanity, drug and alcohol use, violence and mention of sexuality. According to Fontbonne University, some of the most banned books consist of The Great Gatsby, Lord of the Flies and To Kill a Mockingbird. The majority of books that eventually get banned from public school libraries are classic pieces of literature that discuss sexuality or contain upsetting, more mature topics.

While there may be benefits to banning books, there are also negative aspects to the whole ordeal. If children are not allowed to read books because of the nature of their content, then, over time, children will become overly sheltered. At a reasonable age, they need to be exposed to the harshness of reality and shown that life doesn’t have a warning. You cannot ban topics in the real world, so by banning books, you may be teaching children that these topics are avoidable.

As of more recent times, books have been banned from school libraries for the reason of mentioning anything to do with sexual orentation or gender. Oklahoma took this even further with the State Senate introducing a bill that meant public schools could not carry books including any content regarding sexual nature, sexual idenity, or gender idenity. The New York Times wrote an article discussing the different states that have or have attempted to put rules in place about what books should and shouldn’t be allowed in classrooms. The article mentioned how a Wyoming county prosecutor’s office is considering chargeing library employees who stock shelves with specific books such as This Book is Gay, written by Juno Dawson, and Sex is A Funny Word, written by Cory Silverberg.

Banning books has been a controversial topic for a long period of time, but the concept is being more challenged now. The argument on whether or not it is unconstitutional has been much more apparent throughout the media. Some will try to say it falls under the category of unconstitutional censorship, while others say it does not as the rights of the author are still protected. This controversy contains aspects from many different perspectives and it may make you think: “has my school banned any books that I’m not aware of?”

Do you think that "book burning" in schools is acceptable?


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