Getting Proactive On Book Bans

Books are being taken away from schools across the country. Will Triton be next?

A pile of books that have been banned or challenged in our country

Anna Webb

A pile of books that have been banned or challenged in our country

Books across the country are being taken off shelves, ironically making the sales of those same books go through the roof.

This is because of books becoming banned.  After these books become banned in certain places, it often makes people just want to read them more.

When should students be able to read the books they want to read?

“Literature at times mimics our society so we have students that are dealing with racism, we have students that are dealing with issues of drug use at home or in the community or in their extended family, we have students that are dealing with the issue of violence or have dealt in the past with one of those things.”  Said Principal Patrick Kelley.

Many books that deal with violence, drug abuse, racism, and sexual orientation.  are becoming banned and students aren’t able to read about books that mirror their own lives. 

Kelley talks about how students from the high school traveled to elementary schools in the district to read books to the children about racial inequality.  The school picked out certain picture books that were appropriate for younger students.  

In an attempt to be proactive when it comes to book bans here,  Triton Schools will be putting out a form that people will have to fill out if they want a book banned.  For example,  a book that has been challenged across the country is the Harry Potter series.  Many love these books while some people who are religious believe that people should not be reading about witches.   This is because some don’t want children believing in witches and things that are involved with Harry Potter.

Librarians across the district are working together on this form, creating a way that people can report a book that they want banned.  This form ensures that people who want a book banned do certain things before it can be banned that include reading the full book, stating a reason to ban it, and what your name is.  This form is pending to be approved for December.

All around the country schools and libraries are facing the issue of banning books.  Meaning that a title has been removed from a library.  Some parents feel that children should not be reading certain books due to many reasons that could include racial inequality, sexual orientation, drug use, and more.  

Newburyport was recently targeted by a a group in Newburyport called Citizens for Responsible Education that has gone to Newburyport schools and handed out flyers. 

This topic about banning books could impact every student and teacher at Triton High School.  One of your favorite books could become banned.

 English teacher Ms. Margaret Flaherty has written a letter to the editor of the Daily News of Newburyport about her thoughts on the topic. She says book banning causes harm to students.

¨It robs them of a true reflection of their world.¨ Said Flaherty

Flaherty talks about a book that was challenged at Triton, Speak, because it brought up the topic of sexual assault.  A parent did not like how the student was reading about it.  

¨We have freshman who are sexual assault survivors and we have boys graduating that don’t know the definition of consent, so its almost like we should learn more about what its like to be a sexual assault victim.¨  said Flaherty

After this incident happened with Speak, the next year, the teacher chose a different book to read for their class.  This teacher is no longer working at Triton.  Flaherty says that she teaches a book that includes sexual assault, I Know Where the Caged Bird Sings, and when the topic comes up, she takes the opportunity to do a two day lesson about sexual assault.  

Flaherty teaches her students about racism while the class was reading  Of Mice and Men. Flaherty takes one or two class periods to talk about the racism in the book and in the outside world.

“Don’t teach white kids to feel guilty or to feel bad about racism and like oh they’re too young to talk about racism.  Its like yeah well when you’re 5 years old and being called the n-word on the kindergarten playground that’s too young to talk about racism but its on their skin everyday of their lives.” said Flaherty

Across the country racial inequality and sexual orientation and the two biggest reasons books are challenged.

Yet many banned books can be difficult to read, are about things that are happening in our world.

Some think that parents should choose what their child reads and doesn’t.

“Parents are the children’s first teacher and of course they should be rasing children on what is important to them” said Ms. Jennifer Jones, the librarian at Triton. 

Banning books removes a title from the students reach and can affect the way they learn about certain topics.

To kill a mockingbird, The Giver, The Hate U give, Catcher in the Rye.” Junior Riley Hillemeyer said when asked what banned books she has read.

Hillemeyer says that the only book she thinks partially should be banned is To Kill a Mocking Bird.

“A good book in the wrong hands in dangerous.” Said Margaret Flaherty.