Letters to the editor

The Baltimore Sun

Banning books doesn't help kids

The superintendent of the Harford County public schools, Jacqueline C. Haas, developed a committee over the concept of banning The Chocolate War from the ninth-grade curriculum. The article "Book-banning decision defended" in The Sun (Wednesday, April 11) explained the reasonings behind the decision.

The book was challenged by almost 40 parents in Harford County. The book was challenged due to content of profanity, sexual content and references to homosexuality.

I'm not quite sure why this book would be banned from a freshman high school class. By this stage in the students' lives, they would have already been introduced to these topics. If freshmen students are being sheltered from this, how long will it go on? Will books with profanity and homosexuality be banned from 11th and 12th grade curriculum as well?

Children today are being sheltered from everything. This touchy-feely community won't let the next generation be subjected to any sensitive topics. So how will the next generation learn anything? They will be thrown out in the world at 18 and told "go make a life for yourself," without knowing the makeup of the diversity of the world.

In the aforementioned article, another parent of Harford County countered the decision, saying, "Young readers are the real losers here." That is exactly where the loss lies. Books are where new ideals and knowledge are housed. If books are banned from these students, how are they to gain these new ideals and knowledge?

I don't know where there could be a happy medium. If books are banned, knowledge is banned. Some could say that the students are safely protected from the reality of the world, but then they are actually sheltered from reality. A solution to make everybody happy is almost impossible, especially when people are standing on opposite sides of the fence.

Book banning will always be a touchy subject and a conflict with the First Amendment, which is also taught in ninth grade in Harford County schools. People will continue to argue and controversial decisions will be made. But banning a book from a ninth-grade class because of profanity? It's absurd.

Katrina Torbit Fallston

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