Should To Kill a Mockingbird be banned from schools?
There are schools that believe that To Kill a Mockingbird should be banned from reading. A school district in Mississippi didn’t like how the book used racial issues and how it deals with civil rights. There are numerous instances in which it uses racial slurs about the black community. There was backlash but it was decided that the book would stay in the library. Some say that they could get the same message across using a different book and it has been constantly challenged since 1960, when it was released. Arne Duncan, president Obama’s former secretary of education, said that “When school districts remove ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ from the reading list, we know we have real problems.”.
When it comes down to the 1st Amendment, the right to read for example, all students should be able to read To Kill A mockingbird, even if it has racial slurs. Some parents may want this gone as it is offensive to the black community but as Ben Sasse, a Nebraska Senator, put it, “Engaged parents should call the school district with the clear message: Our kids are tough enough to read a real book.” There some reasons to remove the book from the 8th grade reading curriculum, but as it stands, it will most likely stay as a shared story in our schools.
“’To Kill a Mockingbird’ Banned at Mississippi School.” Time, Time, time.com/4983786/biloxi-mississippi-school-ban-to-kill-a-mockingbird/.
The 1st amendment of the United States Constitution addresses the issues of freedom of expression and the limitations government has when it comes to acting against the expressions of the public. According to the first amendment, government is not allowed to show bias towards a religion or belief and are not allowed to stop a person’s right to speak out about their values . One of the limiting powers of the government is that they are allowed to censor media and information from the public if under the proper context. Does censorship desecrate the freedom of expression? Or does it not hinder it at all?
According to an article entitled “ National Coalition Against Censorship” By the NACA censorship is defined as “ suppression of an image or idea because it offends or disturbs someone, or they disagree with it. This states that media can be censored if it offends or bothers someone, however this raises another question. What are the limits when it comes to offensive or disturbing material? And how do they decide if something needs to be censored or if it should stay? The IRA defines the difference in the following quote “ There is an important distinction between selection based on professional guidelines and what censorship actually entails. “ The goal of censorship is to remove, eliminate or bar particular materials or methods. The goal of professional guidelines is to provide criteria for the selection of those materials or methods”.
Censorship also plays a role in the education system. An article entitled “ The Student’s Right to Read” by the NCTE, states that “ students and parents have the right to demand that education today keep students in reality with the world outside the classroom. Since this a right of the parents and student why are books that are deemed to realistic or vulgar removed from the educational system. Another thing to consider is the responsibilities of an english teacher. The specific responsibilities are highlighted as the following “ Literature classes should reflect the cultural contributions of many minority groups in the United States” Censorship does not just impact literature in school but also can hinder the quality and impact on education. How this affects students is shown in the following excerpt “ Censorship leaves students with an inadequate and distorted picture of the ideals, values and problems in their culture. Writers and authors have alot of power when it comes to the ability to impact students when it comes to sensitive or emotional content. Writers can distort or inaccurately portray a culture or value or they can paint an overly graphic image of a culture or idea. Censorship can protect the public from sensitive media but in the end does it have a negative effect on students when they enter the real world? That’s for you to decide for yourself, as for me, I think it affects us more than we realize.
“Without freedom of thought, there can be no such thing as wisdom; and no such thing as public liberty, without freedom of speech.” ~Benjamin Franklin, writing as Silence Dogood