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The Restriction Of Literature In School Libraries

664 words - 3 pages

Student publications are not the only things being censored in school. The way a student chooses to express his or herself through clothing is also being censored. The school has the right to control the school environment, even if that means censoring the way a student dresses. Also the schools are allowed to enforce dress code as long as it is reasonable and the school has made it a specific rule. (Truly 9). A student from Del Norte High School was suspended for wearing sagging pants. The school’s reason for this suspension was due to a “growing gang problem.” The student named Richard Bivens was warned multiple times to not wear the sagging pants and he defied the school by wearing them after the warnings. The school decided to give him a full term suspension. Richard’s mother filed suit against the school. Richard argued that he was just trying to fit in with the black culture in his school. The court ruled against Richard, ...view middle of the document...

The restriction of literature in school libraries is considered acceptable to many, but in fact it is not. Books should not be taken away from libraries or students just because they contained material thought to be inappropriate. In 1976, a censorship case took place in Long Island, New York. The Island Tree Union Free School District School Board was sued by the parents of some students, due to the school taking out, from the library, books that contained bad language, sexual content, and racist language. The case went to the Supreme Court and the Court ruled against the school board. Justice William Brennan told his opinion on the case, “… we hold that local school boards may not remove books from school library shelves simply because they dislike the ideas contained in those books.” (Emert).
While some books are simply taken out of libraries, others are burned and destroyed. This might seem a little extreme but it occurs all the time. Pastor Ken Bertram and members of his congregation, from Bowie, Maryland burned books by Phillip Roth, John Hersey, and Thomas Paine in order to “cleanse the community of the literature and music that they found offensive.” (Taylor 7-8). Harry Potter has great life lessons that every child needs to learn, and yet some people cannot overcome the fact that it contains witchcraft. Another pastor from New Mexico and his congregants gathered one day to burn the Harry Potter series in order to shelter their children from the occult. During this burning, a member of the congregation also threw The Complete Works of William Shakespeare into the fire. (Emert).
Students are censored daily, something that is illegal and violates their First Amendment rights. Schools censor what they can write about, what they can wear and what they can read, just because they do not find it appropriate. While some do not do anything about it, others take it to the Supreme Court. There is no point in censoring students because they will learn sooner or later. Students should be treated with the same rights adults have and no one should be telling others what they can and cannot read, write, or wear. Thankfully these censoring cases will diminish over time as the United States becomes a more liberal state.

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