Banning Books: Censorship in Springfield

Banning Books: Censorship in Springfield

Emily Clotfelter, Reporter

In 2018, 483 books were challenged or banned according to the ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom. However, there could be even more because some go undocumented. “Banning” books is a form of censorship where books are taken off of school reading lists, library shelves, or bookstore shelves.

Books are commonly challenged by parents, political groups, or religious organizations for expressing ideas or values that they feel are inappropriate or that they are not ready to discuss. Some reasons that books are banned include graphic violence, disrespect for parents and authority figures, being sexually explicit, promoting evil, lacking literary merit, being inappropriate for an age group, or including offensive words. 

Some books that were commonly banned in 2019 include, “I am Jazz” by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings, “The Handmaid’s Tale” by Margaret Atwood, and “Smile” by Raina Telgemeier. Both “I am Jazz,” and “Smile,” were banned for LGBTQ+ content, while “The Handmaid’s Tale” was banned for being vulgar and having “sexual overtones.”

Books are even challenged or banned by parents and guardians in Springfield. The most recent example of this is when Theresa Drussa, a grandmother of a Glendale graduate, approached the Springfield Public Schools board about a book called “Perks of Being a Wallflower.” Her grandson read the book three years ago as a senior, and after reading some of the book, she was concerned about sexual themes and drug use in it. She believed that this type of material had no place in a school. According to KY3, she said, “What’s the purpose of giving this to our kids? They’re supposed to be educating our kids. What value does that have?”

Another example of a challenged book in Springfield is, “The Hate U Give” by Angie Thomas. This book was challenged in 2018 after being assigned in class at Reed Academy. The parent was concerned that some scenes were not appropriate for middle school students. This book was not banned in the district, and is still available in High School libraries.

Mrs. Lindsey, an English teacher at Hillcrest, has both of these books in her classroom. She has a class set of, “The Hate U Give,” and the novel, “Perks of Being a Wallflower” is also in her class. She has many more banned books that were banned for various different reasons, and she says, “Lots of books that I have are banned for LGBTQ content or drugs or cursing.” According to Mrs. Lindsey, “I think banning books is dangerous because keeping information from people is wrong.” She thinks that nobody should have the power of banning books, saying, “If there’s a book that I disagree with personally and I don’t think people should read it, I don’t think I should pursue challenging or banning that book because I don’t want to give anyone that power.”