Public middle and high schools across the nation are pulling books off library shelves because parents, administrators, or teachers deem them inappropriate for student use. By removing books from libraries, faculty and parents are putting students in these censored schools at a disadvantage compared to their counterparts in other uncensored schools. The issue of censorship in public school libraries goes beyond determining the appropriate content of books, defending morals and values, or even allowing students opportunities for decision making. Though these issues are relevant and should be addressed, the main concern with censoring books in public school libraries classrooms is that by censoring the materials students are exposed to, they are given incomplete educations that will not prepare them for the next educational level: college.
[...] Censorship is not a new phenomenon. According the Intellectual Freedom Q&A on the American Library Association's website, “Since the dawn of recorded human expression, people have been burned at the stake, forced to drink poison, crucified, ostracized and vilified for what they wrote and believed” (par. 10). While those who attempt to censor materials generally have good intentions, the results of their actions can be detrimental to society and to individuals' freedoms. By restricting books and materials, censors are trampling on students' rights. [...]
[...] Another objection that may arise is that by making some books off limits to a group of students, these books become more desirable to all the students in the school. However, this objection can actually be a positive rather than negative effect of the solution. By having certain books that can only be accessed with permission, the books and the library become more desirable and may even become controversial. Students will want to check out the books simply because some of their peers may not be allowed. [...]
[...] It is explicitly stated here that libraries are not in apposition to censor materials and should, in fact, deter censorship rather than encourage it. Despite the moral issues that surround censorship, the most negative effect censorship has on students is limiting a student's educational opportunities. Schools that censor the materials their students are exposed to are denying their students the opportunity to prepare themselves for higher education by ready classic works of literature that should be available in the school library. [...]
[...] A simple solution can be offered to solve the problem of censorship in public school libraries. School libraries can set aside on section of the library to contain the censored or questionable material. Any time a book is challenged by parents, teachers, or administrators and found to be inappropriate, the book will be marked with a color coded sticker or label and placed in this section of the library. It should be noted that the solution does not propose the evaluation of all or even the majority of the books in the school library, just the books that are challenged. [...]
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