Book Banning Should Be Banned

Book Banning Should Be Banned

Written by: Kristen Kahler, Reporter

Book banning is very apparent in today’s society. Popular books like “13 Reasons Why” and “Harry Potter” are challenged year after year. Librarians, parents and administrators still challenge certain content in literature to keep it appropriate for kids, which is a violation of the Bill of Rights. 

In 2018, there were 347 challenged books in the United States recorded by the American Library Association (ALA). According to procon.org, 10 percent = of the reported challenges are approved and the book is then removed. Book banning is the most common form of censorship in the United States. Challenges are sparked by inappropriate content meaning: racial, sexual or violent situations. A more unpopular topic that is challenged is witchcraft, hence why the popular Harry Potter series does not reside in some libraries. Today, book banning isn’t as popular. This allows the suppression to go seemingly unnoticed and threaten the First Amendment.  

ALA says the breakdown of who challenges the content is as follows: 42 percent library patrons, 32 percent parents, 14 percent board or administration, 6 percent librarians and teachers, 3 percent political and religious groups, 2 percent elected officials and 1 percent are students. This shows how important it is for people to speak up about this situation. If a particular book isn’t in the public library, the community has a higher chance of not noticing in the first place. The undercover censorship of freedom of speech is happening right now and it might be hard to spot. 

In September 1990, the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression declared the First Amendment to be “in perilous condition across the nation” based on a survey on free expression (mtsu.org). Censorship of literature discourages freedom of thought. The First Amendment is supposed to give United States citizens the right to speak out, yet this literature is being suppressed in fear of offensiveness. 

In 2001, a group of parents in Maine and several school districts banned the “Harry Potter” series from local libraries, which brought about the  Counts v. Cedarville School District case.

The court ruled against one school board that required parental permission to read the book because it promoted disobedience. The court ordered the series to be unrestricted in the interest of students’ First Amendment rights (mtsu.org). This is a court case stating a series of books shouldn’t be censored in schools because of the First Amendment. Most people who challenge books are parents, so if this case was replicated it would be a given schools couldn’t censor from the student body. 

Banning books isn’t a popular form of censorship, but that’s what makes it such a threat. It goes undetected and violates First Amendment rights. Book banning should be brought to an end to protect student’s rights.