This article was written by Stella Stoufer, a sophomore in U-32 Journalism class.
Pamphlets found in the library during banned books week.
As books get banned all around the world, U-32 continues to keep clean of these bans. Principal Steven Dellinger-Pate even says that, “we’re not going to have [book bans] here at U32,” and librarian Jill Abair mentions how “we have state laws that are being placed to protect us and our students as well.”
According to Steven, a main reason books are banned is fear. “People fear the unknown, so often, and I think that things that are unfamiliar are very concerning for a lot of people,” he remarked. Steven also mentions that some people don’t even read the book and still report it.
Fear comes from a variety of topics. “So they will get banned for LGBTQ content, for racial content for vulgar language for sexual acts, witchcraft,” said Jill Abair. Even though these topics can come off as scary for groups of people it can make other people wonder whether these topics are important at all, “I think that when we ban books it’s a way of saying that some things are not important to discuss,” Steven said.
Grace Cannella, a sophomore at U32, said, “I think that everyone should be able to read whatever they want. Say I’m reading a book and I don’t like the topic then I just won’t read it.” Grace also said, “Just like muffling everyone out.” and “You’re banning the ideas and the people.” Grace believes when you ban a book about a group of people, it’s almost like you’re banning the people and saying the topic isn’t something people should learn about.
The U-32 curriculum includes assigned books, what will happen if a parent doesn’t want their child reading a certain book? Erin Mooney, an English teacher said, “They want their child to read about something the whole class is reading, and we have to find an alternative thing for that student to read.” Sometimes, if a parent still thinks the assigned book is too vulgar or inappropriate to read then they could even go as far as to talk to a teacher. “Let’s say a parent didn’t like the book that their child was reading. There’s a formal process for that. So we have a committee with teachers, librarians, and students. And we have to read the book in its entirety and look at why they’ve decided to ban it,” said Jill Abair. After these books are talked about by staff and others “Oftentimes, anybody who has brought forth a challenge it’s kind of been knocked down because of those [policies and state laws.] that are in place,” Jill said.