US Schools Experienced Sharp Increase In Book Banning Incidents In 2013

U.S. schools had 53 percent more book banning incidents in 2013 than in the previous year, according to the National Coalition against Censorship. A project called The Kids’ Right to Read Project investigated three times the average number of problems, according to Coordinator Acacia O’Connor. The Coalition provides resources on its website including a Book Censorship Toolkit.

According to the website:

“The censorship of LGBTQ-themed texts affects everyone. Young people who are questioning their sexuality, kids with gay or lesbian parents, adults who visit public libraries, and anyone who has met or is likely to meet an LGBTQ person also have the right to read stories that don’t come from a ‘straight’ standpoint.

“But it is easy for people who identify as straight to forget that they have many privileges over those who do not.  One of the most sweeping of these “straight privileges” is this notion:  “I can remain oblivious of the language and culture of LGBTQ folk without feeling in my culture any penalty for such oblivion.”  When censors succeed in banning LGBTQ-themed books, students can graduate from high school without ever having seen a play with a gay character, or read a book by a lesbian author.

“What is increasingly becoming clear to educators and parents is that an education without LGBTQ perspectives is like an education without women’s perspectives and multicultural considerations.  That is to say, it’s not much of an education at all.”


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