Censorship is the right of parents
The recent removal of 16 books from Polk County school libraries in response to complaints from a political group that the books were “obscene” undermines parents’ right to have a say in their children’s education.
The list of banned books includes highly regarded works by respected authors, including a recipient of the Nobel and Pulitzer Prizes for Literature. Presumably, these materials were placed in school libraries based on the judgment of professional educators who found them useful to students.
Provocative and stimulating literary works are bound to offend the tastes and sensitivities of some. Parents have the right to deny their own children access to library materials they deem inappropriate. A group of self-appointed censors should not be able to bully school administrators into denying everyone access to materials the group finds offensive.
Although the plaintiff group calls itself “County Citizens Defending Freedom”, the preemptive removal of books by timid school administrators denies freedom of choice to parents who may have different points of view. School officials say the current ban is not ‘final’, but reinstating the banned material depends on a lengthy multi-committee review process which they acknowledge has ‘no timeline’ “.
Bill Dufoe, Lakeland
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