Saturday, December 10, 2005

Censorship And Acceptance In Washington

University Place, WA, schools pulled the book Geography Club from its shelves due to objections by parents -- however, a nearby school embraced it. River Ridge High School has a unique program: a parent-student book club that embraces controversial books and discusses them in a open but controlled environment. During their meeting to discuss the book Geography Club, the parent-student book club also met the author, Brent Hartinger, who participated in the discussion.

This wonderful alternative to book bannings has so many advantages, it's silly to think that anyone would disagree. Parents should understand that discussing difficult topics with their children is much more successful than suppressing them -- as history has shown, parents who let their kids figure out controversial issues entirely on their own, without parental help, end up in a bad way. Second of all, everyone knows the best way to get kids to ignore a book is to assign it as homework, with expectations of notetaking and understanding the book well enough to discuss it. Censorship-minded parents should take note, and do something about it: simply complaining about a book fixes nothing; making it the topic of conversation, with both sides weighing in with their feelings, is the best way to get all minds on the same page.

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