Book Banning: Good or Bad for Education?
Max Barajas | Writer
Banning books has caused a lot of division in schools. Some say books that are being restricted are crucial for student learning, while others deem them inappropriate and obscene for students. So, why are books being banned all over the world?
“In K-12 schools for students, restricting these books is not a great idea,” said Corinne Betz, LCCC librarian. “The people themselves will stop reading or close the book if it upsets them. In college, all books in print should be readily available to students. We have our own free will to close a difficult or upsetting book at any time.”
According to Smithsonian Magazine, 41% of these banned books follow LGBTQ+ characters and themes; 22% feature stories about sexual content involving teen pregnancy and abortion, and 21% feature race and racism. According to the American Library Association, the most banned book worldwide is a graphic novel called “Gender Queer: A Memoir” by Maia Kobabe. It is considered controversial due to some “explicit images'' in the book. “Time” reported that a court in Virginia tried to label the book as obscene and prevent booksellers from selling the book to children.
“As a librarian, I want students to experience a broad spectrum of literature–stories old and new that bring a better understanding of the evolving society that we live in,” said Richard Paterick, LCCC librarian. “As a parent, I can understand why some may want to limit access to content that they see as objectionable or inappropriate–that includes books, but more so the content that is widely available online.”
Parents worldwide want to ban these books because they deem them inappropriate for children; they think children should not have access to stories with the aforementioned central themes.
Jennifer Myskowski, an English Professor at LCCC, incorporates banned books into daily discussions/assignments during her classes.
“My desire is for students to think critically about book bans and for them to consider who is initiating the bans, why, and for whom,” she said. “Recent bans are related to social and political debates in our society.”
Book bans have increased significantly since 2020, according to PEN America, a nonprofit organization that “works to ensure that people everywhere have the freedom to create literature, to convey information and ideas, and to access the views, ideas and literature of others.” PEN America believes banning books is undemocratic, and that most of America is against the idea of banning these stories from students' education.