This is a topic that hits close to my job right now. As a school librarian I am faced with issues of book challenges and out right banning. While I won’t go into details on specifics of how my district handles these issues, I will say that the process can be frustrating and make my job more difficult than it needs to be. But, and this is a big but, that is not the issue. As a school librarian it is my job to encourage literacy and a love for reading. But when community members try to censor what students read, then it can be difficult, if not downright impossible, to get a reluctant reader to pick up a book.
This article discusses the issues facing classroom reading assignments across the country. While I have no issue with parents who want to protect their own children, I do have issue with parents who want to protect other people’s children. While the issue in question isn’t an outright book banning, it does tread closely in that it boils down to one parent trying to determine what is appropriate for children who are not her own to read. What policy is enough? At what point does an educator’s professional discretion come into play? At what point will all lesson plans need to be parent approved before they an be taught?
We are supposed to be fostering a love of reading, but when we can’t provide children with books which they need or want to read for fear of parental disapproval, the curriculum is walking a fine line between school curriculum and parental control.