Banning books takes away from growth and learning

Erin’s Edit


By Erin Achenbach, News Editor

Erin Achenbach

Lately, some Board of Education meetings are scenes straight out of “Fahrenheit 451.” At both Lindbergh and Mehlville, parents are demanding that books they’ve deemed offensive be taken off the shelves of the school library. 

Just like critical race theory, library books appear to be the latest boogie man for parents of school children to latch onto, convinced that these books will corrupt their children’s minds or teach them other “unsavory” things. It’s just another chapter in America’s culture wars. 

It’s worth noting that the books being challenged are not mandatory reading for students. These are not books being assigned in a classroom or being read aloud by a teacher. These are books that are available for check-out from the library. No one is forcing anyone to read these books. 

It also appears that these challenges disproportionately challenge books by Black authors and other people of color, or authors from the LBTQ community. Although I’m sure that’s just a coincidence. 

It’s certainly not my job to determine whether a book is too sexually explicit, profane or otherwise unfit to be kept on a library shelf, but that’s also not the job of culture warriors or anyone else. Good literature can sometimes make people uncomfortable but censorship should not be the immediate response. Besides, once it starts, where does it end?

Putting blinders on children through banning books does more harm than good. It narrows their viewpoint of the world and what it offers, and can cause them to become ignorant towards people different than them. It also shuts down discussion on sexuality, diversity and racial injustices. 

Books are supposed to teach or inspire. They can’t harm you and if a parent deems that book’s maturity level is too high for their child, simply don’t let them read it. Demanding that no one have access to literature that makes you uncomfortable harms everyone in the long run. 

Doesn’t the most learning happen when you’re considering new ideas that take you out of your comfort zone? 

Banning books is a step in the opposite direction. 

Even if we don’t agree with them, books in our schools and our libraries need to be protected.