Book bans bode bad news

Avery Pelletier ’25 discusses the implications for our school and other high schools as Central Bucks moves forward with LGBTQ book bans.

There have been an increasing number of LGBTQ book bans around the country | Graphic by Ilana Zahavy ’24/Staff

At LM, students are exposed to clubs and support systems to help those in the LGBTQ+ community. Students are encouraged to explore their identities, have conversations about sexuality and gender, and most teachers have made proper accommodations to help everyone feel comfortable. But what about the schools who don’t do any of this?

For the students of Central Bucks School District (CBSD) this is the sad reality that impacts all students. Books are tools for students to gain information about the world around them, however in CBSD, there has been a major controversy due to the “book ban” supported by many parents in the community. This district library policy allows parents and board members to remove books from library shelves if they are deemed inappropriate or if they contain sexual or objectionable content. So far, five books have been banned by the administrative board including Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe and Beyond Magenta by Susan Kuklin, both of which tackle serious issues surrounding coming out and being transgender in the twenty-first century. According to Jonathan Demalta, a district parent, he was in support of these book bans because “We’re here to teach them about math, science, social studies… not about transgender,” which seems to be the common opinion for those in support of the bans. 

These parents agree that school should be a place for non-controversial intellectual studies, but if students aren’t exposed to new information, how are they expected to thrive when living in the real world? The American school system is based on an idea that students must be exposed to and taught a number of subjects. Pulling these books from public school shelves limits students’ knowledge and creates a hostile environment that teaches children not to discuss controversial subjects. And for those attending these schools who are in the LGBTQ+ community, it sends a message that the people in their school district are not in support of their existence. For school age children, having an understanding of one another, no matter one’s personal views, is important for social interaction and creating a proper school environment where everyone feels as though they are accepted. Letting students read about gender identity and sexuality will only benefit them socially and if a parent doesn’t agree with this, then they should have a conversation at home. If all books that had controversial content were banned, then schools are sending a message to children that readers affected by these topics aren’t as important as who wrote the declaration of independence. It also sends the message that any non-heteronormative literature isn’t deemed appropriate and that the mere existence of the LGBTQ+ community is deemed unfit for the classroom. 

If children don’t learn about each other’s identities in proper school environments, whether parents like it or not, they will find another way that could lead to misinformation and judgment. What message are parents and administrators sending to their children if they are ripping away the first source of academic information students are exposed to? 

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