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No BLEEPING Way! Censorship in the Middle School Classroom
Transcript of No BLEEPING Way! Censorship in the Middle School Classroom
“The books that the world calls immoral are books that show the world its own shame.”
Literary Censorship: The removal, suppression, or restricted circulation of literary, artistic, or educational materials—of images, ideas, and information—on the grounds that these are morally or otherwise objectionable in light of standards applied by the censor.
Banned Books: Books to which free access is not permitted; books are typically banned from public
and school libraries.
Challenged Books: Books that an individual
or a group attempted to remove
How does censorship affect literature and our classrooms?
“A true piece of writing is a dangerous
thing. It can change your life.”
Who bans books?
Typically, parents will complain to a school or library if they think that a book is inappropriate for their child's age group; this can be for multiple reasons.
School administrators generally feel pressured by the parent's complaints and will agree to ban the book(s).
Sometimes, the teachers or faculty will ban books based on personal feelings of the literature.
What are some reasons parents or educators may ban or censor books?
What do you think is the most common reason?
1. Censoring to
Black out words you believe could be "censor-able" (anything that could be morally wrong, age inappropriate, etc.).
2. Blackout Poetry
Pick some words or phrases from
your page that you really like and put
a box around them. Try to pick
words/phrases that go together and sound
nicely when said, as you are trying to
make a poem.
After boxing your words/phrases,
fill in the rest of the page
"I believe that
censorship grows out of
fear, and because fear is
contagious, some parents are
easily swayed. Book banning satisfies
their need to feel in control of their children's lives. This fear is often
disguised as moral outrage. They
want to believe that if their children
don't read about it, their children
won't know about it. And if they
don't know about it, it
-Education has a democratic base and
calls for a "wide range of voices and experiences.
To ban and censor books is to take away both the
teacher's and student's right to explore many different
literary narratives and perspectives.
-Previously, young adult literature was used to demonstrate good
morals to children.
-In addition to that, educational communities (such as schools and libraries) used to be extremely homogenous.
-A shift happened in the 1960's and there was a sudden surge of censorship.
-Parents generally fear that the "immoral" books will "alienate our youth and lead them into lives of crime, sex, and violence."
"They're always telling us to make informed decisions abut drugs,
drinking, and sex. But then they censor books that
might help us with these problems."
-Mike, 8th grade
Tim, another 8th grader, said that when Travis in Richard Peck's FIemembering the Good Times killed himself, "it didn't make
me feel like I wanted to go out and kill myself. Kate and Buck
could have helped. They didn't take the hints and clues
Trap left. He was hurting so much. I learned about
suicide and what to watch for."
Controversial books connect
adolescents to experiences and
questions they have but are often too
afraid to ask about. These books often mirror
the confusion they feel about themselves
or the communities they live in.
Instead of treating these books with fear and revulsion, they should be treated as a
Parents should be encouraged to read the
novels right alongside their children and
discuss them. Books will then become a
bridge linking children to their home,
their school, and their
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Franklin, Pat. "Language Arts: Banned Books." School Library Media Activities Monthly 25.2 (2008): 13-14. Academic Search Premier. Web. 1 Aug. 2013.
Koss, Melanie D., Corrine M. Wickens, and Carol S. Waither. "Censorship And Controversial Materials In Chicagoland Middle And High Schools." Illinois Reading Council Journal 39.1 (2010): 29-46. Academic Search Premier. Web. 31 July 2013.
Robb, Laura. "Books In The Classroom: Controversial Novels." Horn Book Magazine 68.3 (1992): 374-376. Academic Search Premier. Web. 31 July 2013.
Winkler, Lisa K. "Celebrate Democracy! Teach About Censorship." English Journal 94.5 (2005): 48-51. Academic Search Premier. Web. 1 Aug. 2013.