Censorship in Schools: Is it truly necessary?
High school is a time of new experiences and changes in a student’s life that help set them on a path to adulthood. The world is changing around these kids and they are coming into social issues they’ve never had to deal before. The issues like fitting in with the popular kids, getting that first date to the big school dance, or even their first high school party. These issues can overload a young teenager so they look to other sources for guidance. Most kids will go to their parents or teachers for help while others will look to upper classmen hoping to become more like them. While these are very black and white other students will look to the media for some sort of clear cut answer. While it seems like movies, television, and music seem to be the big driving force behind most high school students these days, another outlet is reading. Books based on real life social issues such as drugs, gangs, sexuality, religion, and many more questions are posed make them relatable to students of all ages. The problem with all of this is the parents and the school board members believe that students are too young to learn about these issues let alone form an opinion of their own. They are limiting students from finding some sort of light at the end of the dark tunnel that is their high school career. This is a classic form of censorship that is ever present in modern day society. Schools and parents banning certain literature in high schools damage a student’s ability to learn and grow. Censorship is not a new concept in schools and it has intensified throughout the years. Schools used censorship as a means of subduing the parent’s worries of age appropriate material being taught to their children (Lover). Parents have a fear of their children developing dangerous ideals that don’t fit acceptable norms in society (Lover). They think they are only doing what’s best for their kids by trying to shelter them from a lot of every day issues like sex, violence, and drugs. When students get a hold of books containing these issues their parents panic and instantly assume the worst. Parents automatically assume that their son or daughter may take what they are reading out of context and that may somehow scar them for the rest of their life. This type of fear is especially present in religious households where the parents are extremely against such topics being taught to their kids. Skip Lowery a professor of Cultural Arts at Daytona Beach Community College had to deal with such a problem when he taught high school in the 60’s (Lowery 62). While teaching George Orwell’s “1984” a parent of one his students was a local preacher and had taken offense to the fact that his son was being taught what he deemed obscene material, when he couldn’t be taught religion in the school. Lowery used tactics that he developed to deal with such an issue. Lowery stated: “People like the preacher practice what I call the “voodoo principle” of censorship. They seem convinced that if young people read or learn anything about sex, they will immediately begin to have sex, or if they read a novel sympathetic to a homosexual, they will begin to experiment with same sex partners” (Lowery 63). Lowery offered the preacher to sit in on the class so that he could see that the students were able to understand the material in mature way that wasn’t going to warp their mind. Granted that idea is a bit extreme even for that time period but it is an honest concern that some parents have. Students are impressionable, especially in high school when they are stuck in that awkward phase of seeking out acceptance from those around them. So when students bring home books that have to do with risqué topics like high school partying, profane language, experimental drug use etc, and their parents bring up challenges to said book in front of school boards. A challenge is defined as a written complaint has been filed with a library or school about...
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