Answer

One of my major campaign issues is “more emphasis on literacy.” Reading a wide variety of different texts should be encouraged.

Students learn to read better by reading more. Book bans serve the purpose of appeasing certain parents. However, teachers believe in the idea of age-appropriateness in selecting books for students. Certain materials are appropriate for certain ages. My experience is that when books are banned, some students want to read them.

Censorship is a very sensitive topic, as is age-appropriateness. Overall, banning books and certain topics for discussion seems to harken to a previous time to which many of us do not wish to return.

Of course, parents do have some measure of control of their children, in the eyes of the law, because they are under age 18. We must also respect religious and cultural values, but not to the point that all are censored. (Substitute readings are often given in classes.)

Blanket bans remove rights from parents who want their children to have wider experiences. As an educator, I strove to teach the curriculum, but with room for questions from students. Many students would ask me, “What do you think, Mr. Sellers?” My answer would always be “You should explore and research on your own.” That way, students can learn to think for themselves.

Should we choose to ban topics in a blanket fashion? Or should we consider them in terms of age-appropriateness and giving voice to the voiceless? Traditionally, we in America have chosen the side of freedom. Book bans and bans on discussion do not seem like a choice for freedom.