We can all agree that parents should and do have the right to control what books their own children read, what games they play, what movies they watch and what access they have to computers and cell phones. Parents want their children to be safe.
But banning books is a bad idea.
Parents don’t have the right to control what other people’s children should read, view, play or download. A small group of parents in Somerset not only want to control influences on their own students, they want to control access to books for all students, in other words, banning books.
Moms for Liberty is a nationwide group working to ban books in school districts across America to forward the agenda of the extreme right. A few parents in Somerset have found the list of books that Moms for Liberty wants to ban. They want those books removed from our high school library so that none of our students have access to them.
These books are deemed objectionable for a variety of reasons. Some use common swear words or include sexual, racial or explore painful aspects of history such as slavery.
As much as some would like to think otherwise, these are issues and concerns for our kids. High school students are aware of sex, gender differences and troubling details of American history such as various forms of racism. While parents play the key role in helping children learn hard facts, schools are also a safe place for children to process and confront difficult issues.
What about parents' rights? Parents in Somerset already have the right to tell the school to make sure their children can’t check out a book that parents deem unsuitable for their child. Parents also have the right to communicate with their student’s teachers to arrange for alternate assignments when they think something might go against their beliefs.
If you share concerns about banning books and having other people's religious or other values forced upon your child, please express your concerns to the Somerset School Board, the superintendent and the principal.
I don’t know if Stephen King’s books are banned or not. But he is very eloquent about what is happening across the country: "Book-banners insist that the entire community should see things their way, and only their way. When a book is banned, a whole set of thoughts is locked behind the assertion that there is only one valid set of values, one valid set of beliefs, one valid perception of the world. It's a scary idea, especially in a society which has been built on the ideas of free choice and free thought [i.e. Democracy].” Moms for Liberty ignores that policies to limit access to some books are already in place in most school libraries. Parents are already welcome to limit their children’s access to certain books. MFL is a small, very vocal fringe minority. They have no right to dictate what other children are allowed to see.
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