Should parents be able to get books removed from school libraries or reading lists because they find ideas or language in them objectionable? What arguments can you make for or against this?
As a mother, and a lover of knowledge, I can look at this question two ways. From the point of view of a parent, I think that there are boundaries on what my son should be reading. He’s 14 years old, but there is still content that I believe isn’t age appropriate. I absolutely feel as though school districts should know what sort of subject matter is contained within the books they offer, and that some of those options may cross lines parents are not happy with.
This is a hard question for me to appropriately answer, as my son, specifically, has been successfully testing on a 12th grade reading level since he was in the fourth grade. This makes it a little more difficult for me because books on his grade level tend to bore him and are not challenging; however, reading the subject matter within the pages of books on his actual reading level is going to come with some discomfort. With that said, I do believe books available to younger children should be somewhat monitored for content. I won’t pretend I know what age is best to become less strict with availability, but I definitely think some content involving crude language, sexual encounters, etc. should not be optional for younger, elementary school students.
As a lover of knowledge, I also see that my son has the opportunity to learn, grow, and decipher his own world views through what he digests from pages covered with ink. My job, as a parent, is to know I’ve given him the foundation I want him to have, and to navigate what’s right and wrong on his own. I have to know that crude language, and reading about scenarios I’m not necessarily okay with will not change the morals I’ve instilled in him.
I have a child who loves reading, and while I care about the content of the books he reads, I also care that he be exposed to all sorts of literature that will build on his prior knowledge, and contribute to making him a well-rounded young man.
“Today a reader, tomorrow a leader.” -Margaret Fuller