The Student News Site of Manheim Township High School

The Township Times

The Student News Site of Manheim Township High School

The Township Times

The Township Times

The Student News Site of Manheim Township High School

The Township Times

Opinion: Banning Books Is Not The Answer

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One of the most striking images is a burning book. Knowledge, ideas, and the whole lives of people are consumed in a blaze. It’s an action that has been ordered by many dictators worldwide such as Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin. The book “Fahrenheit 451,” which many MT students read, is named for the temperature a book has to reach in order to burn. These are seen as horrifying, brutal forms of silencing a population, and a similar thing is happening in our country. More recently we see this injustice being attempted even within our own district. No, we are not burning books, but banning them. 

Books are a special thing for all ages, but in many cases, children especially. They teach manners, form connections between generations, and show magical worlds. They tell great and terrible stories of times long ago and show how we can shape a better future for all. It is so important to the lives of children everywhere that we allow them to enjoy books. The lessons learned from books can serve children for their whole lives. So why are there movements to censor and limit the education kids can receive from books?

It’s an important part of a kid’s schooling to be exposed to all parts of history, including the parts we would like to forget. Tragic events such as the Holocaust, the Vietnam War, and the 9/11 terrorist attacks have been covered extensively. Kids must be educated about them to avoid repeating terrible violence. Now, I don’t believe children should read extreme books such as “Mein Kampf,” Adolf Hitler’s anti-Semitic manifesto which is a horrible, hateful propaganda piece. But, when mature enough, it is vital to read literature about these events. 

Book bans follow dangerous trends. According to Pen America, Pennsylvania is third in the nation in banned books and these bans follow similar themes. According to a fact sheet by the Education Law Center, 42% of the outlawed books dealt with LGBTQ+ issues, and 28% prominently featured characters of color. These are two historically underrepresented groups, and banning literature continues the harm. What are we afraid of by giving minority groups a voice? General society has discriminated against them for so long; let their thoughts and expressions be available to a greater number of people.

I’m sure many of you are aware of the potential book controversy discussed in the Dec. 14 school board meeting. A concerned citizen made claims that Manheim Township provided books with graphic content in them and called for the removal of “porn in MT schools.” I completely disagree with the argument presented against supposedly “inappropriate” books getting taught at Township. While heavily explicit books are not suitable for school libraries, the provided examples don’t represent the majority of books available. Certain books contain sexual content, yes, but it does not mean Manheim Township is endorsing or promoting the actions in the book. They are simply offering it as an option. 

It should be a family decision whether a certain book is unacceptable, not the school board. “Inappropriate” is a very subjective word, and has a different definition for everyone. Why should one person restrict the education of another person—which doesn’t affect them at all—just because their ideals are different? It’s better to address the issue in your own home. 

It is in the best interest of children everywhere to allow them to read. Hiding the realities of life will only blindside people more when they happen. It’s much safer for someone to be aware and knowledgeable than unprepared and in danger. We must not pretend that life is perfect and allow children to be ready for what’s to come.

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About the Contributor
Matt Lubin, Staff writer
Matt is a staff writer for The Township Times and is a junior at MT.

Comments (2)

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  • M

    MARK A DIENERJan 22, 2024 at 2:14 pm

    Best point in the entire article,
    “While heavily explicit books are not suitable for school libraries…”
    Well said!

    Reply
    • S

      Sarah SpragueJan 30, 2024 at 9:42 am

      Hello! I don’t know if you realized but you accidentally cut out the rest of the quote. The full quote actually reads: “While heavily explicit books are not suitable for school libraries, the provided examples don’t represent the majority of books available.” Just wanted to make sure you didn’t miss the rest of that important statement.

      Reply