The Dangers of Censorship in High School Essay

2591 Words 11 Pages
The Dangers of Censorship in High School


Every day well meaning parents, concerned members of society, and Christian activist groups across the country fight to censor the literature that is being taught in high school classrooms. The word censorship carries all types of implications and angles; it involve s a denial of an author's right to guaranteed freedoms of expression. However, as it relates to education, this issue goes a great deal deeper than the standard First Amendment argument. In attempting to ban certain types of literature from the classroom, censors are taking away the rights of teachers to prepare students for a reality that their parents do not seem to think will ever affect them. They likewise deny students the
…show more content…
Kristol (I 972) claims that "very few words of real merit ever were suppressed" (p. 649). This is a difficult statement- to agree with because among the literary giants that have been repeatedly censored are Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird, Anne Frank's Diary of a Young Girl, and John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men and The Grapes of Wrath. Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn has been frequently attacked on the basis of racial prejudice. J. D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye, the coming-of-age novel loaded with profanity, leads all of these as far as censorship votes are concerned (Donelson, 1997). ) While these and hundreds of other books continue to show up on ban lists in libraries across the country, activists like Kristol (1972) have asserted that "in the U.S., censorship has to all intents and purposes ceased to exist" (p.645).

Censorship in the classroom is about control. Gardner (1997) came to understand this concept when he used "book burning" to make a point to his class while they were studying Fahrenheit 451. He and his students burned some books, which were previously intended for disposal, to bring to life the focus that Bradbury makes on the subject in the novel. His afternoon classes came in, having heard about the activity in the hallways, excited and full of adrenaline at the thought of participating.…