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The Student Voice

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Fighting for A Place On The Shelf

A pile of books on the floor because they are getting banned.
A pile of books on the floor because they are getting banned.

In an age where knowledge is easily accessible, the threat of censorship looms large, raising concerns regarding the importance of diversity of thought and intellectual freedom. One example of censorship is the banning of books because some individuals find their ideas, concepts, or material unacceptable. People like private individuals, government officials, or organizations, are responsible for book banning. 

When books are banned that material is removed from public access. This implies that those books might be taken off library shelves and curriculums in classrooms. Limiting and removing the access of books in certain places in the country can cause severe problems in our society.

English teacher, John Gurbisz shares his insight on the lack of appreciation for books that are banned, but that are still accessible in other areas. 

“I wish that students got a lot more involved and realize that they have it good by us teaching some books that are banned in other states,” said Gurbisz.

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Gurbisz himself has the great privilege to be able to teach many banned books throughout his curriculums to freshman students. Even though these books that he teaches are banned or challenged all around the world he still teaches them because of the value he finds that they bring to the audience.

“I teach books like ‘Lord of the Flies’, ‘The Lottery’, and ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’, all of which have faced bans, particularly due to violence,” said Gurbisz. “It might sound absurd, but even certain Shakespearean plays are not allowed to be taught in some states.”

Books have long served as windows into other worlds, encouraging and developing our young minds’ empathy, critical thinking, and cultural appreciation, but as more books are being pulled from classroom curriculum and school libraries, this cherished tradition is under jeopardy.

Currently, according to PEN America, “Florida has one of the highest rates of book removals and restrictions in the country.” They are also partnering with authors, parents, and students, undergoing a lawsuit against Escambia County, Florida, over the frequent bans of books and challenges that are “based on ideological objections to their contents or disagreement with their messages or themes.”

As censorship continues to threaten the diversity of thought and expression in education, it is important for individuals to advocate for the preservation of banned books. After all, reading broadly and exploring many viewpoints is not only a privilege but also a human right that is necessary to encourage personal growth and understanding in both the present and the future generations.

By expunging bans on literature and keeping literature accessible, we can guarantee that coming generations will be able to explore various views, question their own views and perspectives, and promote a more inclusive community. We must protect the core principles of freedom of speech and enable young minds to critically interact with their surroundings by speaking out against censorship.

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