Banned Books

Banned+Books

Maddie Geary, Staff Writer

Throughout history, the debate over which books are appropriate for public schools has always sparked controversy. However, over the last 30 years it has intensified and led to a division among librarians, teachers and parents across the nation. Censorship is harmful to the fundamentals that the United States was based on, therefore, banning books needs to be put to an end.

Those opposed to censorship act against it each year during Banned Books Week. This annual event takes place every September and reminds people that the country needs to uphold freedom of speech. Having little to no restrictions on reading material enables people to form their own ideas and opinions. Advocating for this right draws national attention to the harms of censorship. Slogans and logos such as “fREADom” have become popular among proponents against book banning.

While censorship across the world has decreased overall, the controversy has increased as a few remaining countries have severe restrictions on what the population is allowed to read. Sexual content is the largest excuse for book censorship. Racism, inappropriate language and religious beliefs are also contributing factors.

Huckleberry Finn has been unfortunately dropped in various high schools as a result of complaints about the language and sense of discrimination. Tempe, Arizona experienced a parent’s lawsuit that attempted to get the local high school to remove the book from the required reading list. This case went all the way to the federal appeals court in 1998. In the end, Tempe High’s right to teach the book was fortunately affirmed, but the controversy led to negative comments about education and racial tensions.

A fundamental reason why censorship is a lingering issue in the United States is because librarians in poorer areas do not receive proper training in terms on selecting books for the library and for academic classes. They often are given no guidance at all; therefore, their book choices are based on their personal beliefs and culture. Or worse yet, many schools don’t even have a librarian. Fortunately, Miramonte has highly trained librarians.

At Miramonte High School there is not much controversy revolving around censorship because our librarians do an excellent job of keeping all different types of genres and variety in our library and curriculum.

“We try to self-censor in the sense that we don’t want a Holocaust denier having a book about that, but we try to keep as much variety as we can while still protecting the students,” said Mrs. Anderson, a long term substitute librarian and former Miramonte librarian.