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Censorship delays learning

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Censorship delays learning

Homestead provides a wide variety of literature for students to read in the school library.

Homestead provides a wide variety of literature for students to read in the school library.

Danielle Kleiman

Homestead provides a wide variety of literature for students to read in the school library.

Danielle Kleiman

Danielle Kleiman

Homestead provides a wide variety of literature for students to read in the school library.

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All across the globe, novels and literature are being banned from children and adults because people think some books are too inappropriate, and they may not agree with what the message of the book is saying. This has certainly affected the book selection in the core curriculum at Homestead High School.

Topics like racism, bias, violence, negativity, profanity and even sexual dialog can spark controversy about whether or not students should be reading texts that may influence others to do something they normally wouldn’t

In recent years, the ALA or the American Library Association, has recorded hundreds of books, for example, The Color Purple by Alice Walker and To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, that groups of people have attempted to take out of libraries and classrooms.

Mrs. Suzanne Zellmann, the research and digital learning specialist at Homestead High School,  has an integral role and said that she is“given authority and the responsibility to purchase materials for students for freshman through seniors for teachers.”

In our community, the Mequon-Thiensville School District, the money our teachers and staff use to purchase the books students read at school comes from taxpayers. To make sure we spend this money wisely, the school board created policies and restrictions on which books are allowed to be bought.

Julie King, a reading specialist, is a partner to Zellmann on discussing literature and books that are included in the core curriculum for students at Homestead. “We revised our selection process, and try to be proactive, so when Mrs.Zellmann and I hear about something that could be controversial, we make sure that we talk to parents ahead of time and give them a heads up,” King said.

These policies have a major effect on its students, and what they learn about the real world. Sam Griswold, senior, is very much against books being taken out of reach. “Students our age are decidedly mature enough to read sophisticated literature with references to adult topics. With this in mind, there is no reason to ban books. What one person may find offensive could in fact be considered insightful by many others.” Griswold said.

In a study by Butler University, books that are on the brink of being banned are challenged mostly by schools, and parents but have a variety of reasonings from suicide to religion.

Another senior, Kaylee Norris, believes that all high school students are mature enough to learn from powerful pieces of literature, for instance Fahrenheit 451. “Reading anything from nonfiction to fiction allows a person to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes, which builds character, empathy, and an entire spectrum of emotion that would most likely lead to a more tolerant society,” Norris said.

In 2009, an issue occured at West Bend Wisconsin when the book Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky, was challenged because it contained obscene or child pornography. There were complaints about this book being shelved in the young adult section. This led to more books being looked at and removed from the library and school. At Homestead High School, the board policies restrict what our school is allowed to purchase literature wise.

In order for strong pieces of literature to be accepted at schools, there needs to be discussions about what is appropriate for all ages across the world to read. To create peace and stop the conflict between opinions on books, schools and libraries need to have a “balance of perspectives,” Zellmann said.

At Homestead High School, the teachers in the English department take reading powerful literature extremely seriously. “I found in my experience that a lot of times books that are banned because of something that challenges our thinking. Sometimes it makes people feel uncomfortable or that they are afraid of the conversation. It’s not bad necessarily to read those books, but you have to have the right mindset around them and understand they might push us and challenge us to learn something about life,” King said.

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Censorship delays learning