Banning books discourages reading, limits education

If you thought banning books was a thing of the past, think again.”Huckleberry Finn” was challenged in the Birdville school district in early November when a teacher wrote words intended to cause emotion on the chalkboard, including the word n—–.

The only black student in the classroom objected.

What should have been an enlightening and thought-provoking discussion instead offended and outraged a student and community members.

Fort Worth Star-Telegram columnist Bob Ray Sanders was spot on in his article, “Dealing With That Writer and Word.”

“It seems that an unfortunate incident that triggered a series of tense reactions might have taught many more lessons than any of us could have imagined,” Sanders wrote.

A more recent book series has also been in the book-banning spotlight.

In October, a Catholic school in Boston removed the “Harry Potter” books due to their “inappropriate” themes dealing with magic and wizardry.

From Mark Twain to J.K. Rowling, these authors’ books containing nontraditional themes continue to be challenged.

Schools, even religiously affiliated ones, should be focused on education and actually encouraging their students to read rather than inhibiting them from using their imagination.

Having an age requirement for certain school library books, especially when students may not be mature enough to handle explicit subject matter, is one thing, but outright banning books is an entirely different issue.

Reading fiction is all about use of imagination and enjoyment of creative ideas, and just because a book describes magical spells and monsters, does not mean the reader is expected to subscribe to those theories.

If schools are not setting the standard for encouraging students to read, how can anyone else?

Gretchen Hollis is a senior news-editorial journalism major from Snyder.