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Censorship in the Classroom

Your experience in having your site banned by filtering software brings to mind the situation in our school.

Some parents objected to a book that was required reading in an English class, a book that students have been reading in schools for decades.

They wrote the principal about it, claiming among other things that the book was "unwholesome."

Showing his characteristic backbone, the principal promptly suggested to the teacher that it would be best if another book was substituted.

Since the teacher was new and didn't want to make any waves, she quietly went along. But we can all see that the experience sapped much of her initial enthusiasm for teaching.

I recently read that fundamentalist parents in Alabama succeeded in banning 44 history, social studies, and health textbooks from their public schools.

I bet most of all of these censorship-happy types are the first to jump up, wave the flag, and sing the phrases of "America, land of the free."

" A popular teacher was recently fired in Texas for taking her 5th grade class on a school approved trip to the Dallas Museum of Art.

Although more than 500,000 students visit the museum each year, someone complained this year that nude statues were in the museum. The contract of this this 51 year-old teacher, a classroom veteran of 28 years, was not renewed.
"

-The Week, Oct. 13, 2006

>> How are we supposed to get students engaged in healthy discussions if everything that isn't bland and G-rated is off limits?

All it takes is one student with some sort of a grudge to claim that some discussion wandered into some "unwholesome" or nonpolitically correct area, and we are called on the carpet to have to defend ourselves.

>> I guess if a discussion gets into one of these areas we are supposed to immediately stop the conversation and announce that we aren't allowed to talk about that. (Sounds just like education in some of the world's dictatorships.)

Principles are scared of school boards; and it seems that religious-right zealots are being attracted to school boards because they feel some duty to impose their narrow religious views on future generations.

I guess this is just another reason why students say their classes are dull, boring, and not relevant to their lives, and that the majority of new teachers leave the profession after a short time.

[Name withheld by request]


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