A book ban effort has been launched at the Central Bucks School District, calling for the removal of certain books due to certain moral and social principles that parents say have been shattered by the books we read.
Some of my sister schools, like Pennridge, have already gone out of their way to ban LGBTQ+ books, which is a very outdated way of thinking.
Acceptance and expansion is a very difficult thing for many people in my community. Many of the books I’m assigned to read in school are written by old white men. Sure, there are classic books that are enjoyable and educational to read, but I had a plan for my 10th grade English class that was a breath of fresh air.
I was given the task of choosing a modern book written by an author of color or an author who has written on modern topics and issues. I read the book “A Very Large Expanse of Sea” by Tahereh Mafi, which dealt with a Muslim girl’s problems at school after the 9/11 attacks. Reading this novel wasn’t something I could necessarily relate to since I’m not of that race, but I understood it and was able to relate to the situation more than “Pride and Prejudice” or ” A Midsummer’s Night Dream”.
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Efforts to take away this privilege of reading books on current issues will only harm generations to come.
Although parents may see exposure to sex and drugs as premature and vulgar, they fail to realize that as a high school student these are issues that surround us. Being able to read about them, where they are not glamorous but where the truth is told, is more than beneficial for our young people. It can show students the consequences of their actions and be a role model to show them healthy relationships for their lives and be able to identify toxic relationships.
Being informed puts students in a much better position than leaving them in the dark, dealing with issues that school keeps them from reading and learning.
At the top of one of the ban lists is the novel “Gender Queer: A Memoir” by Maia Kobabe. I understand that parents may think that some of the drawings in the book are perhaps too graphic, but they miss the true meaning of the novel.
In a society where it is becoming more and more acceptable to be yourself, these are the types of books that should be encouraged. It’s a very outdated way of thinking to believe that being part of the LGBTQ+ community is wrong and shouldn’t be accepted.
Imagine how confused some people must feel not knowing why they think they were born the wrong sex or why they are or are not attracted to the same sex. Encouraging students who are and are not part of the LGBTQ+ community to read these books will help everyone better understand how they feel and how everyone can better support themselves.
The effort to ban these books will ultimately be reversed, whether now or 50 years from now. Society is progressing to be more tolerant, and our school board should agree with that.
Ultimately, principals’ job is to provide the best environment for students, through diversity and inclusion, and that’s not what they’re doing if they ban books.
Some might say my opinion doesn’t matter since I’m so young, but if you ban my books, shouldn’t you listen to my voice?
Elizabeth Russell is a senior at Central Bucks High School West in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. Her hope is to have a positive impact on the community while improving lives for the future.