Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Banning Books

So I don't get up on my soapbox often, but this is a post that's been brewing for a while.

Believe it or not, I grew up in a pretty conservative, strict family. We had early curfews and did well in school because that was the expectation. However, my mother was a big believer in freedom to choose what we wanted to read. She literally used the Banned Books list to shop for our Christmas presents. She knew I liked horror books so after she read Carrie by Stephen King, she passed it along to me. I think I was in 8th grade and my teacher was horrified-she confiscated the book and called my mom. "Do you know what she was reading?!" And my mother calmly replied "I do, I gave it to her. Can you give it back?". Right now parents are protesting certain titles they want removed so all kids will no longer have access. I believe this is so unfair. Especially because there is nothing wrong with these books. They offer insight into diverse perspectives and history we need to learn from.

Books have the power to broaden our horizons, give us insight into history, into other perspectives, other cultures. It just boggles my mind that people think they can keep their children from learning these things simply by banning books. Districts in Florida are being sued by parents left and right. Their district policy is now no read-alouds. No Scholastic book orders. No Epic reading program. No classroom libraries. Can you imagine trying to teach reading with no books. 

But they can still get books from the public library right? Well, just wait. Virginia has a bill pending that will ban books completely from their state. Bookstores can't sell them, it will be illegal to own them when this passes. If that doesn't scare you, I don't know what will. Has anyone read the book Educated by Tara Westover? What this book told me is you can't keep ideas from your children. Especially with everything on the internet.

So what can we do you ask. Vote. I know you hear it all the time, but it is so important. PAC's are being formed by parent groups to fund people running in school board elections. These people have no experience in education, their motivation is to take over boards and put policies like these in place. Local elections matter. Research the candidates and see who will help maintain freedoms in education to teach what we know students need.

1776 PAC   -This well-funded PAC has placed half the people they have backed for school board races. These people have no experience in education, simply an agenda to whitewash education.

It is a rough time for teachers who believe our classroom libraries should reflect our students. Who believe in teaching diversity and inclusion. But hard as it is we need to stand up for our students. They need to learn how to be inclusive and tolerant of views that differ from their own.

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