Posts Tagged ‘Freedom of Speech’

As we celebrate Banned Books Week in the library this week, the seventh grade students and I have had some great discussions about reading and the ultimate decision makers about materials purchased and held in a library.  Just who can decide what we read, and should they have that power?  Amidst these enlightened discussions regarding freedom of speech, I read an article regarding the banning of The Catcher in the Rye in a Florida School (“Martin County Mom Trying to Get Catcher in the Rye Banned from Classes“).  What I found interesting was not the fact that a mother objected to her child reading a book with profanity.  Frankly, that happens all the time, and as a librarian I have no issue with it.  Parents, after all, are the primary educators of their children.  But why do parents think they have the right to challenge what is being read by other students, or worse deny them the right to read those books?  The books that are challenged and ultimately banned contain ideas that can inspire reflection and conversation from both a negative and positive standpoint.  They can inspire exploration of ideas and moral stances.  Without the exploration of this literature, personal philosophies may go unexamined.

Freedom of speech grants the freedom to explore many different ideas, even those that may be unpopular or unfamiliar.   It is truly frightening to think individuals believe that they have the right to censor those ideas that they find offensive, to the detriment of the entire community.  It is hard to believe that these actions continue in 2010.


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