Censorship For Middle School Students Essay

1110 words - 4 pages

Censorship by definition is the suppression of speech or removal of communicative material which may be considered objectionable or repulsive. Censorship is nothing new and its effects are constantly felt throughout society. Many societies use censorship to protect the established moral and social order. Book censorship in western cultures can be traced to the earliest years of Christianity, when the church began to suppress opposing views as unorthodox. In ancient times, before the printing press and the mass production of literature, book burning was an effective form of censorship. This process guaranteed that no one would ever read them. Although book burning was very efficient it is now used as more of a gesture of protest to shock people rather than a real method of destroying a book. In modern times, censorship refers to the examination of media including books, periodicals, plays, motion pictures, television shows and radio programs for the purpose of altering or suppressing parts thought to be offensive. Today’s censorship occurs when certain people succeed in imposing their personal or moral values on others. Censorship deals mainly with the first amendment constitutional. “The law requires that if a book is to be removed, an inquiry must be made as to the motivation and intention of the party calling for its removal. If the party’s intention is to deny students access to ideas with which the party disagrees, it is a violation of the First Amendment” [First Amendment Center]. Though the First Amendment bars government authorities from prohibiting the free exercise, abridging the freedom of speech or practicing religious censorship in the United States, individuals have successfully pushed to remove books from public and school libraries. This basic concept helps explain why educators, parents, and society at large have concerned themselves with the content of children’s and young adolescent’s books.
In the quest to mold the thinking of young adolescents censorship emerged in the classroom. Many people believe what children read affects their perceptions of the world and helps to form the attitudes that will govern their behavior as adults. Efforts to protect children and young adults have brought the censorship debate into school and public libraries throughout the country. Parents and school boards have subjected children's literature to the closest inspection, with the frequent result of challenging concepts, languages, and illustrations. Whenever books for children present ideas and material that a group of adults, or even a single parent or teacher, thinks is inappropriate, the possibility of censorship arises. This could be the reason the first five books of the Harry Potter series has all been challenged or targeted for censorship in libraries in the United States because it portrays wizardry and magic. Many fundamentalist Christian's were offended by the book's theme of sorcery and its focus on murder. The issue became a...

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