Should certain books ever be banned from schools? If yes, why should they be banned? If no, why should they not be banned?

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ask996's profile pic

ask996 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

Posted on

As much as I hate to think of it, there are probably some books that should be banned from school. I cannot think of anything in particular, but obviously book that give intruction on how to participate in illegal activities should not be allowed. I also feel that there are things I would not want my children to have access to. This runs the real risk, however, of being turned around on me, and ending up with books banned that I don't think should be even though someone else does.

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dastice | Elementary School Teacher | (Level 1) Assistant Educator

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I don't believe in banning books, but believe there is a responsibility that comes with reading certain material.

I am reminded of the x-rated section of our local video rental store when I was a kid.  It was available, but not just anyone could go back there...ID showing proof of age was required.

I feel schools could do something along these lines...though perhaps without the beaded curtain my video store used.  Books could be available to students who had permission slips signed by a parent.  Or, perhaps students would have to take a course that teaches them how to read such works critically before they could have free access to them.

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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In response to #7, that is fascinating, mwestwood. But I have to ask how would somebody work in an environment where they obviously can't do their job in terms of exposing students to other thoughts and ideas in their teaching? I wouldn't be able to do it personally...

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Censorship is a delicate topic.  In the U.S. there are a couple states that are practically theocracies and they dictate their Puritanical policies into their public schools, wishing to ban many of the African-American realistic writers and Aldous Huxley's Brave New World, among others. In Texas, for instance, there was Norm Gabler and his wife who wanted the theory of evolution expunged from the textbooks; his campaign has been so strong that he has influenced many of the Bible Belt states.  This exposure to other thoughts outside the strict boundaries of the Bible Belt is an inappropriate restriction.

accessteacher's profile pic

accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Gosh, what an Orwellian question! As someone who has worked in environments that, for religious reasons, have not allowed certain books to be taught, I must admit I disagree profoundly with the concept of not teaching certain books. I think we need to credit our students with more maturity than we often do, and also not be afraid to use certain controversial or challenging texts to raise vital questions, about such topics as sexuality and faith, for example, that students really do care about and are interested in. However, on the other hand, I do think a line has to be drawn at some point.

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besure77 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

Posted on

Yes, banning is very harsh indeed. Some books do not belong in an elementary or middle school setting, that is for sure. Once we get into high school I believe it is a different story. Perhaps some books should be left up to the parents discretion or alternate books provided if the parents feel a particular book is too "adult" in nature. I do not believe in banning books though.

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clairewait | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

I agree with the above posts.  The term "banning" is so harsh and carries much negative connotation - but there is certainly a level of age-appropriateness that needs to be employed in public schools, elementary, middle and high.

Ideally parents would be the ones most influencing students' decisions at early ages, but today, it is sad that teachers are forced to take parental roles more and more.  With classroom numbers exploding, it is nearly impossible to have such quality control on a large level - so it really is up to the media centers and school boards to make some blanket control decisions.

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kapokkid | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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I do think that a school as a community, with input from parents, etc., can decide that certain books are not appropriate for their students.  I think that schools can also decide to ban books on political or religious bases assuming those schools are parochial or private.

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bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

I do hate the idea of banning books, but elementary and middle school library shelves should be immune to some forms of adult material and literature as well as other forms of controversial reading matter. I'm not in favor of banning the publication of such material, however.

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