Books are something that are essential, and expected, in an everyday student’s life. Every school library is filled with books on all sorts of topics, from history to romance novels. However, since last year there has been a fight for banning an extensive list of books from being put on the shelves of school libraries nationwide. During this past summer, those books were prohibited from being in schools, because they were deemed as having content in it that was offensive or possibly harmful for students to be reading.
Books should not be banned from schools.
Denying a student the opportunity to read a certain book is incredibly disappointing and dangerous. According to the Washington Post, most books that have been banned and dismissed as “inappropriate”, are written by members of the LGBTQ+ community, or are people of color. Books that have included details of sexism and racism have also been removed. This is only pushing a narrative of ignorance and placing it upon future generations. If students are not reading about these events and learning from them, they will be completely oblivious when they enter the world that is full of these examples. Students will not have the awareness of their actions being brought to their attention by these books, therefore creating another level of arrogance.
The banning of books is not only having an effect on students by spreading ignorance, but it also perpetuates the idea of excluding groups that are already marginalized. When you have an entire selection of books written by people of color that are discussing discrimination and racism, you are ignoring an entire group of kids that could relate to the topics in the book. When people of color, or members of the LGBTQ+ community, etc., read a book that describes experiences they can relate to, they feel as if they’re own feelings are being recognized and it ignites that love of literature and writing. Taking that way means taking away that comfort and recognition that is crucial in society, especially for younger generations. In an article done by the New York Times, teenagers interviewed about the recent bans on books were extremely upset by it, claiming that the sense of relatability that can be found in stories that are similar to yours is being diminished.
Students are not the only ones who are feeling the effects of these bans. Teachers have been expressing their concerns and grievances with this issue. When the National Education Association covered teachers testifying against books being banned from school libraries in Indiana, it was clear that educators are just as upset as the students. A teacher’s job is to help kids learn and expand their knowledge and awareness of an entire spectrum of topics. Books help perpetuate that, and subject matter that may be deemed as “too sensitive” for students to handle, only closes the gap between teachers and their curriculums. Teachers already have incredibly difficult jobs and low salaries, but now they can be suspended, or even expelled, from their jobs simply because they taught a book to their class that was banned due to offensive content. This only puts more strain on their jobs and is very disheartening when their purpose in their job is to help students grow and gain more knowledge.
Instead of banning books because they have words or topics discussed in them that could be controversial, we should allow those books in school libraries, and then leave it up to families to look at the list of books their child will have access to and decide whether or not they want them to read it. There can be a list of books that are given to the families of students to look over with a description of what the book is about, and can make a choice from there. When a student checks out a book, that notification can be sent to a parent or guardian, letting them know that their child is choosing to read that book for the period of time they are allowed to have it. However, banning books from being put in schools at all, is a level of censorship that should have been reached.
NEISD has banned over 500 books, which puts the district as number one in the state for how many books have been banned. This is disappointing and unacceptable. Ignorance and exclusion should not be encouraged in a system that is supposed to promote learning and understanding of a variety of issues. This is not what education should be, and it should not have to continue.