Teachers suspended, radio and television personalities fired, authors disinvited to speaking events, all because their words, opinions or shows did not agree with what a handful of people consider appropriate. One would think these types of situations regarding censorship happened decades ago, not in a time now, where people pride themselves on having an open-mind and the ability of forward thinking. However, censorship still prevails in America today, and not only censorship of pornography or violence on television, but it seeps into our textbooks and classrooms too, all in the name of protecting the children.
Many reasons exist for people to favor censorship, both by the government and in schools. These people may feel that internet filters and rating systems insufficiently block obscene material. Some people believe that children exposed to inappropriate material will become promiscuous or will become desensitized by violence on television. Although censorship may be necessary in protecting national security, there is no evidence to support that it protects children, and therefore censorship should be abolished, as it lessens the freedoms of everyone and diminishes a democratic system.
Obviously, parents want to do the best things they can to protect their children. However, their fears misguide their thinking when it comes to censorship. As Charles Taylor points out, censorship does not only include pornography or excess violence on television, classrooms and libraries all across America can feel its presence. (Taylor) According to the National Coalition against Censorship website Congress passed the Adolescent Family Life Act (AFLA) in 1981, which provided funds to charitable and religious organizations to teach “chastity education” to young adults. By 1996, it had “gained so much support from government and public institutions” that congress established a federally funded program to bring abstinence-only education into public schools. (National Coalition Against Censorship) This means that the government censors what public schools can teach. According to the law, teachers can only to teach about contraceptives by telling of their failure rates. Teachers cannot answer a direct question from a student if it does not relate directly to the abstinence-only lifestyle. (National Coalition Against Censorship) This provides an unrealistic and dangerous curriculum in our public schools. Children should have access to material that will lead them to make better and healthier decisions about sex and material that will lead them into adulthood better prepared.
Some school administrators, teachers, and parents do not make informed decisions when deciding what material students can access. They merely read a bad review or skim the pages of a book and decide it has unsuitable content. Ellen Hopkins, an author of the young adult series, Crank, notes that books like hers have a helpful storyline for young adults, but adults quickly...