Censorship in Schools

Topics: Freedom of speech, United States Constitution, Censorship Pages: 3 (651 words) Published: October 20, 2010


School is a unique place that shapes the personality of every individual. Besides the instruction given by teachers, books and study materials greatly contribute towards individual development. When books are banned, students can lose important resources for learning about society and themselves. It is important to be conscious of the reasons for censorship. Otherwise, censorship can cut down on the effectiveness of education.

The ideals behind censorship are undeniably genuine. But censorship without valid justification often triggers a reaction because it conflicts with constitutional values; the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution prohibits the government from making laws that infringe upon the freedom of speech or freedom of press. (Wikipedia.org). Schools and libraries on various occasions use self discretion in banning material deemed not suitable for its students. This is often due to the fear of controversies and unfavorable reaction from parents. And yet, books can get banned even if they discuss valid subjects like human anatomy, gender equality, racism, religion, evolution, creationism and other important topics. Would we ban dictionaries and encyclopedias for carrying the same content? A major problem with censorship is the difficulty of setting clear limits for determining what materials should be banned.

Of more than 5,000 challenges recorded by The American Library Association over the past eight years, 1,062 challenges alleged the material was "unsuited to age group", 744 complained about an "occult theme or promoting the occult or Satanism", and 474 concerned objections about homosexual issues or "promoting homosexuality". Other reasons were sex education content (190), and anti family sentiments (186) (National Coalition against Censorship). The best way to deal with these issues is not by suppressing information that is controversial, but instead analyzing it with maturity so that people can...

Cited: 1. “First Amendment to the United States Constitution.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 18 Feb. 2008
2. “How Big a Problem is Censorship.” National Coalition against Censorship, in support of free expression. 18 Feb. 2008
3. Handout. Staples, Suzanne Fisher. “What Johnny Can’t Read: Censorship in American Libraries.” The Alan Review winter 1996 Digital Library Archives. 13 Feb. 2008
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