A group of concerned parents voiced their objections to literature selected for a tenth grade advanced placement English class. The books on the mandatory reading list are suspended pending review, but available in the school library. The selections aren’t in the same vein as “Fifty Shades of
junk Gray”, but some of the titles address homosexuality, sex, America’s working poor and other controversial subject matter.
I’m going to go out on a limb here and predict there will be a run on these suspended titles, the likes of which the school librarian has never experienced.
Kids being kids will check out the books, read the titillating portions and miss the big picture. How do I know this? In the land before time, we did not have Google, but we did have the encyclopedia Britannica. Armed with the encyclopedia and a dictionary we came up with ballpark information that formed the basis for uninformed opinions.
These students will miss the opportunity to learn about literature under the guidance of a professional. Classroom literature creates an opportunity to learn and discuss sociology, history and politics in a structured academic setting. I wonder how many of the parents who object to the reading list create an opportunity to do this at home?
These same students are old enough to drive themselves to concerts, some of which include sexually suggestive performances. A trip down the information superhighway powered by Google, can render knowledge about subjects that are barely legal, even in Holland. Television programming leaves little to the imagination and depicts all kinds of sex.
Even the Animal Planet features what some would consider controversial subject matter; http://www.animalplanet.com/tv-shows/monsters-inside-me/videos/bedbugs-food-and-sex.htm
I offer impeccable credentials based on first hand experience when I state Kids will always find a way to uncover banned subject matter. I was a teenager when Etta James “Roll With Me Henry” hit the airwaves. The local radio station banned it. Being extremely resourceful (i.e. smart alecs) my friends and I stayed up til midnight to listen to the one radio station in Del Rio, Texas that would play it. The song was about dancing, nothing raunchy. The commercials featuring the sale of items best unmentioned, along with autographed photos of Jesus were beyond raunchy.
The unintended consequence of banning often results in information we really don’t need to know.