Schools deny children a chance to learn about the world in an attempt to protect them

By Aliya Rembelinsky ’21

Staying ‘politically correct’ [or just ‘PC’ for short] is something many schools take pride in. They make sure no one is offended, and everything is a safe space for anyone no matter who they are. For the most part, this is great. Children should be able to develop in a stable environment so they can function well as adults. However, children cannot be shielded from everything forever, and one way or another, they will have to learn some harsh truths about the world we live in. So why ban books that may contain inappropriate content to “protect” them when in reality it leaves them ignorant? It is a blatantly dumb decision and promotes censorship during a time when that is that exact opposite of what people need.

Many books such as The Perks of Being a Wallflower or To Kill a Mockingbird contain themes and perspectives on life that are incredibly important to see. Both books cover issues in our world today that many people struggle with in today’s world. However, these two books found their way onto American Library Association’s Banned Books List due to content that could be found troubling to young minds. Although there were good intentions behind it, the desire to protect the young, it instead leaves them vulnerable to something they do not understand or can even comprehend. In 2013, a study published in the Journal of Science found that those exposed to fictitious literary works performed better on tests dealing with empathy, social perception, and emotional intelligence. By banning such books, you deny students three vital parts of being a better person.

There is more to it than just learning valuable lessons from positive views, but learning what to avoid through a character’s flaws and issues. Characters in certain stories that could be seen as antagonists show people what not to be as they grow. Of course, many people argue that being exposed to such vile people in literature would actually encourage children to behave more like those influences. These people are not wrong, but that is a risk that people have to be willing to take. In today’s day and age, we strive to live in a democratic society where everyone can express their view and vote accordingly. However, by banning books, these people are denied more viewpoints to consider or possible ways to alter how things are done because some aspects of it were seen as unfitting for the inquisitive learners of these coming generations.

This infringes upon a person’s freedom of speech and their desires to express or cover certain topics without it being deemed as inappropriate. People are allowed to express their views as long as their words do not bring or threaten harm to another. However, certain opinions are shoved under the rug because people get uncomfortable reading about it. That is not a fair excuse to completely ban these works of literature that can help alter the world for the better or worse. Children need a chance to develop their own mindsets and opinions as well. By only exposing them to certain things, you deny them a chance to grow into the person they were meant to be because they never had a chance to see the world in a different way.

As a school, a place of education, banning books is ironic. You deny kids certain knowledge because you fear it may change the students for the worst. Nevertheless, this is a risk that schools have to be willing to make and allow their kids to truly explore and find what they love instead of being groomed to see the world in a very specific way. You prepare students for the future by sending them off as the best versions of themselves, not the version that you deem as appropriate. As the world changes around us at a speed that is nearly blinding, kids must be able to find the voice meant for them so they can influence the world they want to, not the way older generations want them to.