Please describe in your own words what "censorship" is? What is the editors view about the issue?Do you think censorship should be enforced in school? Please state your reasons.

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herappleness's profile pic

M.P. Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Censorship is the act of banning, labeling, restraining access, or applying bias to a person, place, thing or idea.

As far as the public school system, being that it is paid for by the government, then the rule would be that the government, the constituents, voters, and school boards would have to come to a census to decide what goes in and what does not. After all, they are the ones who run the schools based on public funding and public support. Hence, the public decides.

If it is a private institution, the same happens, with whoever is sponsoring the organization.

As far as my personal choice, I think that whatever the status quo has decided to let in or out of a school should be the rule of thumb simply because it causes less troubles. All one needs to do is go to another system if the situation is not to one's liking.

I had to do that when my son's school decided to NOT teach the evolution. It was a private school, ran by a specific group of people who believed in creationism.  It was sad, but I had to take my son out of that place ASAP instead of trying to press my own beliefs over theirs. Maybe it was not the most courageous thing to do, but just as they had the right to ban evolution books, I had the same right to ban them from my life. In the end, what is fair is that we all have the freedom to choose what we want despite of other people's ideals.

lorrainecaplan's profile pic

Lorraine Caplan | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

You already have a good definition of censorship from the previous answer, but I want to add a few thoughts of my own about this.  Each enotes editor is going to have his or her own position on censorship.  To the degree there is an "offiicial" enotes position, it is most likely to allow for the removal of obscenities from postings and to allow for the removal of any material that has no educational value. So, for example, a posting soliciting sex would be removed immediately. 

I agree with the previous responder that there should be some censorship in high school.  Those under the age of 18 do not have the same First Amendment rights as those who are over the age of 18.  However, censorship, if not exercised intelligently, can lead to some dreadful results. 

When I was in high school, we had special editions of Shakespeare plays that had various lines and sections taken out, those with sexual puns, for example. I tend to think of Shakespeare as almost sacred, and to offer students a tampered version of his plays is almost sacrilegious, in my opinion. An edition like this is called an expurgated edition, and if students are to study literature, they should study it as it was written.  Another example is The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, which some school districts will not offer because of the repeated use of the "N" word. To prevent students access to the study of one of the greatest works of American literature is a form of censorship, one I find most lamentable. There are countless examples of wonderful books being barred from the curriculum for similar reasons, and I have provided a few links that discuss this kind of censorship.

Another aspect of censorship that I find troubling is the censorship of student writing in school newspapers that prevents students from expressing legitimate opinions and grievances. If a student has a supportable position on a matter of public interest or a matter of interest in the school, that student's writing should not be censored. I agree that some topics and ideas are not suitable for publication in a student newspaper, but there is no question that censorship has gone too far in many school districts.

I am fortunate enough to teach in a private school which has a strong anti-censorship position, so I do not have to worry very much about this issue.  But most teachers in public schools do have to concern themselves with this, and as a student, you should care enough about your education to have some idea what your own position is on this matter.  Do you want someone else to decide what parts of a play should be available to you or to decide whether or not you can write an article for the school newspaper about a school policy?  It is important for you to think about this issue regarding your own education and the education of generations to come. 

readerofbooks's profile pic

readerofbooks | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

Censorship to me is usually the abusive of authority and power of those who have authority and power against those without authority power. The problem with this is that the arbiters of truth and what is acceptable is determined by those in power. In fact, we can go as far as to say that censorship, pushed to its logical end, leads to the creation of "truth" by those in power. In a modern world, people said "knowledge is power." In a post-modern world, people say "power is knowledge." In the light of this, we need to fight censorship. Michel Foucault has great things to say about this. I will add a link.

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

To me, censorship is when an authority figure prevents someone from writing what they want to write or when that authority figure prevents the person's writings from being read in a certain place.  In the context of a school, censorship would be the administration preventing a student from writing something (like in the school paper) or taking a certain book out of the library.

Censorship clearly must be enforced in schools up through high school.  This is because high school students are still relatively young and their parents would probably want the stuff they read to be somewhat limited.

Imagine if there were no censorship in high school.  Let me give you a couple examples of things I saw in a college newspaper while I was in graduate school.  One was a picture of some guy from a freakshow type thing who was dangling weights from his privates.  I don't think that would be appropriate for high school.  Or a female columnist who wrote a column talking about particular sexual acts that she was going to engage in -- it was entitled "Sorry, Mom, I'm Going To ...." and I don't know that I should write what it says on here (censorship!!!).

Or what if you could have just any book in the library or any magazine.  That certainly wouldn't be appropriate.  So there must be some censorship.

The question is where do you draw the line?  You have to consider the rights of the students to read what they want.  But you certainly have to consider the right of the parents not to have their kids read certain things.

So it's a really difficult issue.  There has to be some censorship for sure, but it is very hard to know what should be allowed and what should not be.

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crensha | Elementary School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

Many times while watching movies or listening to talk shows, I've seen the video blurred or heard a bleep when something was edited from movies, videos, or radio.

Think about materials that could be considered objectionable, harmful, sensitive, or inconvenient to the government or media. You may also have noticed either the sound (bleeped) or the video (blurred) from edited material which may be considered objectionable, harmful, sensitive, or inconvenient to the government or media.

Censorship should be enforced in schools. Teachers and students should be mindful that censorship is the editing of material from a written or visual presentation. Sometimes the word "censored" is used to indicate that material was removed in the interest of morality, or would be offensive to the intended audience.


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