Are banned books taking away student rights?

The censorship of books has a wide variety of opinions connected to it. Is banning books okay or completely unacceptable?


Arizona Lee

“An educated population that has empathy and understanding of what others are going through is a better population.” (Bree Ervin)

Arizona Lee, Editor-in-Chief

Would you believe me if I told you that the Harry Potter books were recently removed from a school in Nashville, Tennessee due to “satanic” undertones and the “teaching of witchcraft”?

When a book is banned from a specific school, the school can not carry the book in their library or support students bringing the book into the school. 

For a book or series to be banned, it must first be challenged. The American Library Association defines a challenge as “an attempt to remove or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group.” If a challenge is successful, the book is then banned.

Many beloved classics have been banned from elementary, middle and high schools. This includes To Kill a Mockingbird, The Catcher in the Rye, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Lord of the Flies, and many more.

The Giver by Lois Lowry has also been challenged a number of times, along with I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou.

These beloved books have been excluded and removed from specific schools. But why? According to The American Library Association, there are many reasons that books get banned, some of them being offensive language, cultural sensitivity, racism, and violence. 

But what are English teacher’s take on this whole matter? 

Mrs. Bree Ervin shared her opinion on censorship of literature by explaining that the list of topics of books being banned is a list of “things that parents don’t want to have conversations with their kids about.” Ervin also explained how unfortunate that was and added that “those are the exact books that kids need.” 

She continued by saying, “It’s all the issues books that adults often want to ban. But kids who are in [a difficult] place sometimes don’t have [someone] that they feel safe talking to, so a book can bridge that gap.”

Many people support the banning of books. However, some of the supporters of book censorship have argued that the banning of certain literature prevents putting ideas into vulnerable people’s heads and prevents young children from reading material that is inappropriate for their age. 

But, as said by Mrs. Jamie Hedlun, “Someone without options isn’t free, so you’re essentially taking away a sense of freedom when your censoring books or ideas.”

Banned Books Week passed a little more than a week ago. It is a time to celebrate freedom of literature and the agency to read what we choose. It is an important week to lovers of literature because of the wonderful classics that have been banned from schools all across the US. 

Some support this cause, some don’t. But I think that we can all agree that books are a form of education and enlightenment about issues all across our world.

What are your thoughts on book censorship? Let us know in the comments below!