The Worst Part of Censorship is $***@# | Teen Ink

The Worst Part of Censorship is $***@#

November 12, 2013
By OneProzacADay PLATINUM, State College, Pennsylvania
OneProzacADay PLATINUM, State College, Pennsylvania
37 articles 0 photos 58 comments

Favorite Quote:
"You are the universe expressing itself as human for a little while." -Eckhart Tolle

I am proud to attend State High, a school that doesn’t ban books. We even promoted banned books week, and a photo contest of the subject holding a banned book. However, censoring books is more common than it should be. Schools, libraries, even bookstores censor books and other texts to shield students from the gray areas of life, to shelter them from ugly truths of the real world. I find this extremely ironic, because every high school student in the world has been accused by their teachers of being ignorant of and unprepared for the real world. How can we prepare for the real world if you don’t let us explore it? Yes, certain texts have no place in schools, no learning value to be had, but banning texts that contain genuine literary merit for a few “inappropriate” words is not benefiting anyone.
Students across the country are deprived the opportunity to read some of the greatest literary works of our time, because of their “language.”
As English teacher Ms. Hoffman would sarcastically remark, “Language--what a terrible thing to have in a book.”
Common banned books include Catcher in the Rye, On the Road, Of Mice and Men, even the beloved Harry Potter. I understand if parents want to shelter their young children, and that is their right. But public school libraries should not ban books just to please that minority, and High School students should be old enough to choose what to read and mature enough to handle it. They can enter internet contracts without parental permission at 13, why can’t they read Go Ask Alice? You can’t shelter kids forever; eventually, they will go off into the world. It is parents’ job to prepare them for this journey, and censorship just perpetuates their ignorance.
Banning books isn’t the only type of censorship that affects teens. It’s great that State High doesn’t ban books, but censorship still goes on in our school. Aside from censorship in books, other media is often banned or blocked. Often, educational videos are censored; for instance, a biology teacher fast-forwarding through the part of the historical botany video about cannabis, because learning the history of this plant is apparently synonymous with offering students a joint. Forget that the rest of the video is about alcohol, because alcohol is not a destructive drug and is such a great influence on kids.
Unnecessary censorship like this prevents students from learning valuable information and being exposed to great works and literature that would benefit them socially and emotionally, that would teach them the rough lessons of life that only seem to be discussed in books and movies. Hopefully, State High and other schools across the country can continue to progress and move past censorship.

The author's comments:
I wrote this for the school newspaper, and ironically, it was never published.

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