-A principal in a California high school bans five books written by Richard
Brautigan because he thinks they might contain "obscenities or offensive sexual
references" (Berger 59).
-A Vermont high school librarian is forced to resign because she fought the
school board's decision to remove Richard Price's The Wanderers, and to
"restrict" the use of Stephen King's Carrie and Patrick Mann's Dog Day Afternoon
-An Indiana school board takes action that leads to the burning of many copies
of a textbook that deals with drugs and the sexual behavior of teenagers (Berger
These cases of censorship in public schools are not unusual and there is
evidence that such challenges are increasing (Woods 2). These challenges are
actually typical of the ones being leveled against school libraries today. These
challenges can come from one person or a group concerned with the suitability of
the material in question. In almost every case, the effort to ban books is said
to be "justified by fear of the harmful effects that the books may have on young
children" (Berger 59). The result of these censorship attempts has been two
opposing sides: one side believes that "more suitable materials can usually be
found from among the wealth of materials available on most subjects (Woods 1),
and the other side believes that students' "intellectual freedom" can be upheld
only if students are allowed to examine "any available relevant materials in
order to gain the insights needed to reach their own conclusions" (Woods 1). In
the simplest terms, the debate is between censorship and the freedom to read.
The most important question when discussing censorship deals with its
constitutionality; does censorship violate the First Amendment's guarantee of
free speech? Censorship advocates actually use the words of the First Amendment
to make their point; "the amendment reads, 'Congress shall make no law...", it
does not say, "There shall be no law...'"... [continues]
Cite This Essay
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