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Banned Books Week

My son's school has 'Banned books week' where they proudly display and encourage students to read books that in Ameican history have been banned. The phamplet he brought home claims Christians have been behind most of these book bannings, is this true? We are furious.

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 ---Alba on 9/10/06
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**The saddest part of the whole thing was that most of the parents who were protesting the story...**
I know a Christian who is a public school librarian. She has a form for people who complain about materials in the library. The first question on it is, "Have you read the material you are objecting to?" Next come "What specifically do you find objectionable? What do you believe the author is trying to say here? What would you recommend as a substitute?"
---Jack on 11/12/08

It may be anecdotal, but yes, it does seem that Christian fundamentalists are behind most of the book bannings.

If a Bible isn't in the school library, if it's most likely because it was too hard to read (elementary schools) or no one wanted to read it (high schools).

Public school libraries only get a couple of dollars per student to restock their books. Therefore librarians buy books the majority of children actually read.

BTW, the LDS Church gives out free KJV, 1 per household.
---Nancy on 12/1/07

Jack, I remember that story. The saddest part of the whole thing was that most of the parents who were protesting the story, "Nappy Hair," had never read the story. If they had, they would understand what it was about.

This is the point that "Banned Book Week" is trying to get across. READ THE STORIES FOR YOURSELF.
---NurseRobert on 7/7/07

Though I am far from being a liberal, from what I read I would be glad to have Madison be a teacher to one of my children.
In my community we have fine schools, and yes at some school board meetings fundamentalist offered objections to some books.
As to book burning/banning no one who supports such behaviour has been able to offer an intelligent defense of it.
---MikeM on 9/28/06

It is a mixed bag Madison, there are drug dealers that dont help their kids, there are rich people that dont help their kids, foster kids, black kids, white kids, kids with exceptional parents. None of this has made the system any better. This is called life, it is full of people that dont care and people that do.
---tofurabby on 9/28/06

Poor wording on the pamphlet. However,many people use their Christian beliefs as their reasons for challenging a book. I am a Christian woman, but don't tell me what I can and cannot read. And yes..there is such a thing a a good Harry Potter book. It is the basic good vs. evil.. we can all relate.
---Mandy on 9/28/06

tofu: One of the problems that I see in my urban school is lack of parental support. Many kids go home to no parent being home, or parents not available due to drugs, or alcohol, or being too busy with something. These kids don't answer to anyone all night long. They don't get their work done and they are behind in their studies. What are the families like in your daughter's school?
---Madison1101 on 9/27/06

That is all unfortunate Madison, but it doesnt explain why my daughter goes to a school with plenty of money... plenty, but half the kids still dont learn squat. Something needs to change. Maybe there should be consistant funding, my childs school could definately spare funds for your school and I dont think they would be any worse off. There is something wrong and it isnt money, because other schools are getting theirs. (more than they need)
---tofurabby on 9/27/06

Tofu2:Then there is the need for security personnel. One year we had an eighth grader bring an Uzi gun to school. I taught at one school where the police were there daily. I was threatened by an eighth grader one year and had him arrested. My car was keyed while parked outside of my school two years ago. Another year, someone broke into my car and tried to hotwire it, but the school officer scared the guy away.
---Madison1101 on 9/26/06

Tofu: I teach in a city school district. I have had years where I was expected to teach Science without the books. I have spent hundreds of dollars a year on materials that my school district did not pay for. I have purchased reams of paper and gone to Staples to copy for my class. Don't tell me that money is not a solution. It would certainly keep qualified teachers in the district, instead of scaring us away because of lack of materials, books, paper, and copiers.
---Madison1101 on 9/26/06

Our public school system is a joke. Pumping money into it doesnt seem to help either. I wish I could afford to send my daughter to a private school where she can get a real education, but I cant. Since that's not an option, I wish someone would step up with a solution to turn our educational system into something that really works. Money isnt the answer.
---tofurabby on 9/26/06

Elder: You are so sweet to ask about my health. My incision is still draining, which is a nuisance. I am losing weight, 18 pounds in four weeks so far. Thanks for asking.
---Madison1101 on 9/26/06

Madison, How are you doing with your health?
I can see from way over here you are loosing weight.
We have been praying for you. God Bless.
---Elder on 9/26/06

Back to "book banning". What does this really mean? Some schools or churches may forbid students or members from reading certain books deemed dangerous. This is called "banning".Many historical books, sometime including the Bible, are not made unavailable to today's young people because someone considers them "politically incorrect". In effect they are banned, but no one calls it that.
---Donna2277 on 9/25/06

Elder: I wish I could answer you, but the last two schools I have worked in did not have libraries. They can't afford the classroom space, nor the salary of another teacher. The libraries are used for classrooms. You would have to check your local school to find out.
---Madison1101 on 9/24/06

Humm.... Tell me is the Bible "banned" in public school? Can my child go to the library and check one out and do a book report?
---Elder on 9/24/06

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Jerry: I am a liberal Democrat, so of course I see nothing wrong with my union supporting the liberal Democrats. The Democrats are the ones who fund educational programs more than the Republicans, so it is a no-brainer. We will vote for the people who are going to fund education.
---Madison1101 on 9/24/06

Madison: That was a question - not an answer. If you see nothing morally wrong with the anti-Christian agenda of the liberal democrat supporting unions, then I more fully understand now the plight of our children.
---jerry6593 on 9/24/06

In PA, being a teacher and NOT belonging to a union is NOT a practical option.
They have"fair share" {actually a tax) where the teacher contributes the basic minimum because the benefits of union contract apply also to her. However, there are no union-based protections, and some administrators can be hostile to teachers.
Because the "fair share" is 3/4 or 2/3 of regular union dues, it is a no brainer.

Madison teaches in Philly, the city of brotherly shove.
---JohnT on 9/23/06

mmmm an interesting twist to the conversation: Unions...
Madison this is where or beliefs part company. I have no use for unions.
---NurseRobert on 9/23/06

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Jerry: What moral grounds are there that would motivate an intelligent teacher to drop out of the union?
---Madison1101 on 9/23/06

Madison: Does a teacher have the right to "drop out" of his labor union on moral grounds if he chooses without losing his status as a teacher?
---jerry6593 on 9/23/06

Donna: NEA is not the only teacher's union in the country. I belong to the American Federation of Teachers, which is associated with AFL-CIO. The NEA allows administrator to be part of the membership. AFT does not.

I am not saying that there are not problems with both, just that to blame the unions for administrative decisions is wrong.
---Madison1101 on 9/22/06

Madison --Cirriculum is only part of the problem. The teaching methods and approach to education endorsed by the NEA are considered ineffective by many (parents and some teachers, too). As a union, NEA is OK. My father was on the School Board when I was a child, he got nowhere trying to make changes, so he took me out of the Public Schools (And I've been grateful my entire adult life).
---Donna2277 on 9/21/06

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MikeM -- HUCK Finn, along with The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain were considered classics, good literature, when I was a child 60 some years ago. My grandmother read them to me before I was even old enough to start school.(I came from a well educated family but a non-religious one.) HUCK Finn was banned more recently by the PC crowd because it freely uses the N word, which was acceptable in Mark Twains day, and other racial "slurs".
---Donna_2277 on 9/21/06

As to book banning. One mans 'trash' is someone elses classic. when Mark Twain published Hunk Finn is was considered trash. Today it is considered an American classic. I note the few pro-censership posters here have no leg to stand on, but only attack the morality of books they have never read. When a book has been banned/burned it has always been for the 'public good' be it by nazi's, communist, or fundamentalist. Its all the same thing.
---MikeM on 9/21/06

Opinion, There should be no federal involvement in public school. They should be run by local communities and at most state goverments.There should be no NEA, only, at the most a state lobby. Most teachers are doing a fine job, the problem is not money spent, but lack of parental involvement and too many out-of-classroom administraters drinking from the publi trough.
---MikeM on 9/21/06

Jerry: You are blaming the teachers for policy that is set by the school board and the administration. I do not choose curricula, neither do the rest of the members of my union. That is chosen by the administration, they are not in the union. They are the bosses. Go blame them for the lack of education. They are the ones choosing the subjects and textbooks used by the teachers. They tell us what to teach and we teach what they tell us. If we stray from their guidelines, we are in trouble.
---Madison1101 on 9/20/06

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Donna: Teachers unions do not set policy in schools. The school boards do. Teachers unions ensure a fair contract between the two, that is all. You are mistaken if you think otherwise. If you have a problem with your schools, go to a school board meeting and if you do not like what they are doing, vote them out of office. Run for school board yourself. I have Christian friends that have served on school boards here. Don't blame teachers unions for the problem. They don't set policy.
---Madison1101 on 9/20/06

Madison: Further education is a fine thing if it produces an improved product output. But the output product of the public school system continues to decline in quality. We, the consumers of your product are sick and tired of paying premium prices for poor quality. Perhaps if you would concentrate more on the "3 Rs" and less on social experimentation, your product would improve. What good is all that self-esteem you inculcate if the kid can't read and write?
---jerry6593 on 9/20/06

I dont know about a banned books week, but I do know that today is "international talk like a pirate" day (9/19)... and it's also my birthday! ...or should I say.... Arrr, tis' also my birthday today and Me turned 31 years old.... Aye, me parrot concurs.
---tofurabby on 9/19/06

SOMEBODY decides what books to put in school. It's not a random sample of everything ever published! A parent searched the high school library here and found not one Bible. The only answer she got was re state funds and sep of church and state (but there were other "Holy books"). She "donated" a Bible. (which even Gideons are can no longer do) and watches to see that it remains available. I agree 100%, Jerry. Teachers unions have ruined public education. Taxpayers have no say.
---Donna2277 on 9/19/06

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Jerry2: Many states, like mine, require that teachers accrue a lot of professional development in a certain amount of time in order to stay certified in that state. In PA, I must accrue 180 hours, or 6 graduate credits, every 5 years in order to stay certified. This means a lot of studying during my summer "vacation" and after school and on weekends.
---Madison1101 on 9/19/06

Jerry: I have been a public school teacher for 20 years, and have yet to see a Bible banned. I don't have a clue where you are talking about.
---Madison1101 on 9/19/06

Jerry: The teacher's unions and tenure protect teachers from being fired by principals who don't like them. A bad teacher can be brought up for correction and there is due process to either correct the problem, if the problem does not get corrected, then the teacher if fired. I have seen it happen in my school district.
---Madison1101 on 9/19/06

Madison: "Nobody has the right to ban books from a public educational institution." Then who is it that banned the Bible and books on Creationism from the classroom? I resent the notion that I HAVE to pay for second-rate education and have NO say in how to improve it.
---jerry6593 on 9/19/06

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Ryan: You are right on! If an institution gets worse when we add money, then we should subtract money if we want to improve it.
Madison: There is a great deal wrong with your socialist labor union. As with any communist institution, pay structure and tenure ensure that there is no incentive for individual teacher achievement and no provision for removing underachievers. That is the classic formula for mediocrity (e.g. the Soviet Union). Good teachers generally don't praise the current system.
---jerry6593 on 9/19/06

JohnT: That's okay since I vote Democratic anyway, and support the candidates endorsed by my AFT and local PFT. I am Pro-Union, and all that good stuff.
---Madison1101 on 9/18/06

Yes, Madison, but the AFT also fights for democrats! 8-(

What some Christian teachers do is teach "World Religions" them wait to Christmas and give the kids the message of Christ, as another religion.

Just ruffling feathers in a friendly way, no harm meant above.
---JohnT on 9/18/06

#2 The same solution continues to be presented, the one that will solve all the problems, "Throw more money at it." Personally I am an advocate of home schooling which has the largest degree of parental involvement.
---Ryan on 9/18/06

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#1 It's like I always say, "If you want something to fail let the government control it." The education system of America is a perfect example. America spends more money per pupil than any other nation, has this provided the best education for our children? No, the highschool dropout rate is awful, and among those who do graduate the percentage that can't read and write is amazing, not to mention those that have poor arithmatic skills.
---Ryan on 9/18/06

Jerry: BTW: there is nothing wrong with my Socialist teachers union. We fight for the kids more than some of the parents.
---Madison1101 on 9/18/06

Jerry: No, the people who pay for the educational system should not have a say in banning books. The Constitution says what is free speech and free press should stay free. Nobody has the right to ban books from a public educational institution.
If a parent does not like the books being read, they should discuss the books with their children and critique them comparing them to the Truth of scripture. That is how educated people deal with this. Ignorance is a waste of a good mind.
---Madison1101 on 9/18/06

Shouldn't the people who pay for the educational system have a say in the curriculum, rather than only the socialist teacher's labor union and their federal accomplices? More damage has been done to our society by some of these books (predominantly Darwin's) than by any other source.
---jerry6593 on 9/18/06

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"I'd be angry, too, that the pamphlet makes a point of naming Christians as those who ban books."- I would guess that a 'certain type' of Christian is consistant in trying to ban books. Thats my guess, its the fundamentalist, and not the other 90% of Christians who are book banning types. Sometimes liberals want to ban books, like 'Merchant of Venice' for its 'rascist' depection of Mordicai. This happened in Bakersfield.
---MikeM on 9/18/06

I'd be angry, too, that the pamphlet makes a point of naming Christians as those who ban books. But looking over the list, I realize that I've read most of them and wonder why they were banned. "Huck (not Hunk) Finn" was actually read to me as a child by my grandmother! (and that was almost 60 yrs. ago)
Some of these books were "required" reading in school. Maybe having been "banned" makes them more enticing to students than calling them "good literature".
---Donna2277 on 9/17/06

Maybe it is, maybe it isn't. Leave history to the historians and worry about the present. How will children learn to walk in faith and exercise their discretion when we put blinkers on their eyes? I would say let them read a book that Christians generally consider objectionable but have them critique it in the light of what you have taught them from God's Word. It's a profitable way to put theory into practice.
---Benny on 9/17/06

Banned book list;
1. Hunk Finn,& Letter to the Earth, Mark Twain
2.Slaughterhouse Five, Kurt Vonnugut
3. The Stranger, Camus
5.Cowgirls Get the Blues, Tom Robbins.
6.Color Purple, Alice Walker
7. Brave New World, Aldious Huxley
8.1984,George Orwell
9. Candide, Voltare
10. Origen Of Species, Charles Darwin
---MikeM on 9/17/06

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As to banned books, Harry Potter is the current bogeyman. I note in history Hunk Finn comes up again and again. I tried to read a Potter book, but found it too boring. I still have the list of books my fundamentalist relitives were given by their pastor. I loved that list of 10 books, I made a point of reading them all, where withot it I would have never read them.
---MikeM on 9/17/06

There are some excellent tracts regarding Hallowe'en. Buy some, print some from the 'net or even make your own, and post them to the head teachers of every school you know of in your area. Then follow these in a few weeks time with beautiful Christian Christmas cards (without baubles, trees, santa and puddings etc.)
---M.P. on 9/17/06

I teach public school and use the word Christmas often. I have never referred to Winter Holiday. But that is off topic for this blog.
---Madison1101 on 9/16/06

"Someone had to develop a criteria to censor books" someone, some people already have, the writers of the constitution, its called the first amendment.

Its not P.C. to say anything about an important holiday like Christmas in public school, secular extremist abound on the left, as right wing extremist on the right, who want to ban something sillly like Halloween- abound.
---MikeM on 9/16/06

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Lee: There's no such thing as a good Harry Potter book.
---jerry6593 on 9/16/06

speaking of double standards- why are is halloween allowed to be celebrated in school but we can't even menton the word "christmas?" now it's the "winter holiday?" but it is ok to have halloewwn parties??? t
---michelle on 9/16/06

our local library recently cleaned house as they have just too many books. They tossed books people simply do not check out - one criteria. Others being that they felt some books were harmful if in the hands of mentally deranged people - books on how to build bombs, and other non-social types.

Someone had to develop a criteria to censor books.

Church libraries are the most censored...try finding a good Harry Potter book in their libraries.
---lee on 9/16/06

Eloy: You need to read more carefully. I am not in favor of trash, nor do I desire it. Classrooms are currently filled with the trash of the Darwinian and Muslim religions, while the truth of Christianity and Creationism are forbidden.
---jerry6593 on 9/16/06

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Ask some of those bozos if they have a copy of Salmon rushdie's Satanic Verses.

That book earned him a Fatwa calling for his death. No, they will say.

The reason? "We do not wish to offend Muslims". Don't you love double standards?
---JohnT on 9/15/06

jerry6593, If you desire trash then search in the city dumpsters, but you should not find it in the libraries of American schools. I do agree, the Holy Bible is Holy and therefore should be on the library shelf of every American school, but "required" reading does not sound ethical, just as requiring students to read "trash" is equally wrong.
---Eloy on 9/15/06

I agree completly "down with censorship!" There should be no banned books. If the Koran is allowed in schools, so should the Bible. As to fiction, all forms of it should be allowed. I read the animated and interesting Hindu creation story, the various native American creation stories, the Greek cosmologies, and the fundamentalist creationism, all are fun and should be allowed!
---MikeM on 9/15/06

I say "down with censorship!" Let's return banned books to the public school system. Specifically, I would like to see the Bible and books on creationism become required reading in American schools. Until they are "allowed," don't talk to me about the censorship of trash.
---jerry6593 on 9/15/06

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NurseRoberts, Unfortunately whenever you have ungodly persons in the courts, then you will also have ungodly judgments from the courts; just as the courts of the land murdered Jesus Christ whom they knew was innocent, and indeed they found no fault in him deserving of death. "When the righteous increase, the people rejoice: but when the wicked rule, the people groan." Proverbs 29:2.
---Eloy on 9/15/06

"The ultimate success of this government and the stability of its institutions, its progress in all that can make a nation honored, depend upon its adherence to the principles of truth and righteousness."
John Lord
"Righteousness exalteth a nation."
Proverbs 14:34
The preceding quotes were compiled and edited by J. David Gowdy.
For more... Google search "quotes on liberty and virtue"
---Tbabe on 9/15/06

"It is in the manners and spirit of a people which preseve a republic in vigour. . . . degeneracy in these is a canker which soon eats into the heart of its laws and constitution."
Thomas Jefferson
"To suppose that any form of government will secure liberty or happiness without any virtue in the people, is a chimerical idea."
James Madison
---Tbabe on 9/15/06

Boy, were these guys right on...
"Human rights can only be assured among a virtuous people. The general government . . . can never be in danger of degenerating into a monarchy, an oligarchy, an aristocracy, or any despotic or oppresive form so long as there is any virtue in the body of the people."
George Washington
"Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become more corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters."
Benjamin Franklin
---Tbabe on 9/15/06

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#3 Alba What the school is doing is feeding into the rebellious nature of youth, you will do mre harm than good if you fight it in the flesh.
---Ryan on 9/14/06

#2 Alba, Now let's talk about the Spirit. You and your husband need to show your son: Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness & self-control. The only way to truly overcome the flesh in anyone (Especially teenagers) is to engage them in the Spirit.
Ask your son about the books, show interest in his life and even in his rebellion. I am positive this will 'Heap hot coals upon his head.'
---Ryan on 9/14/06

#1 Alba, here is the question your husband and yourself need to ask: Is the way we are handling our son through the spirit and producing fruit? I was a 17 year old boy once and the more my parents faught me the more I faught back, this is the way the flesh handles things.
---Ryan on 9/14/06

Alba: Kurt Vonnegut and Aldous Huxley are considered appropriate authors for young adults and teenagers. Your husband and you putting up a wall is only going to hurt your relationship with your son. My sons have read those authors and are fine.
---Madison1101 on 9/14/06

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The first amendment is the law, and it means no law abridging free speech, or press, no law means NO LAW! What is or is not decent is subjective' the constitutions is objective. As an example James Joyce's Ulisis was banned based on 'decency' laws. The supreme court, in 1924 rightly overturned the ban, saying you could not ban it for indesency unless you banned parts of the Bible for the same thing. The only thing then indecent is censership.
---MikeM on 9/14/06

Eloy, time and time again the courts have ruled that what we consider "libel, lewdness, profanity, slander, and indecency" IS free speech under the first amendment. Ask Larry Flint and Jerry Falwell.
---NurseRobert on 9/14/06

The specific books were those by Kirt Vonnigut and Aldus Huxley. Our son 17 says he will read what he wants when he wants and snubs his nose at any attempt to control this. My husband say they are not allowed in the home so our son says fine more library time where he reads what he wants.
---Alba on 9/14/06

**For example, publications which profess racial or sexist slurs**
Some school libraries ban HUCKLEBERRY FINN, TOM SAWYER, and even TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD for "racial slurs"--or else some parents raise sand until they do.
BTW--these books were intended for adults. But how does one describe a racist society in literature WITHOUT such words?
---Jack on 9/13/06

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..madison, "freedom of speech" does not me "freedom of libel, lewdness, profanity, slander, and indecency"; and if you think it does, then freely express yourself that way and see if the law will permit it without you becoming sued or arrested. Many who have abused their liberties in this way, have learned that the law will not tolerate such disregard for the public.
---Eloy on 9/13/06

Eloy: Read the First Amendment to the Bill of Rights in the Constitution and tell me how any book banning is correct.
---Madison1101 on 9/12/06

Some literature was rightly banned for indecency and to protect the public. For example, publications which profess racial or sexist slurs and bashing, and gross profanity against certain classes of people.
---Eloy on 9/11/06

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