For decades, parents of high school students have filed complaints against numerous novels due to their excessively explicit content. Yet those novels remain on the average American student’s literature curriculum.
Although a number of books have been successfully banned from some high schools, most have been brought back by schools, claiming that this infringes on a student’s right to read. This is, however, a flawed argument.
If they wish, teenagers can easily find these banned novels from sources outside the school course. Banning these books from schools ensures that these sort of topics are not forced on students who are actually uncomfortable reading or discussing such subjects.
In the book “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” the main character is sexually harassed multiple times and raped at the age of eight. In “Brave New World,” the entire society revolves around drugs and sex. A few excerpts from this particular book include “two children, a little boy of about seven and a little girl who might have been a year older, were playing… a rudimentary sexual game” and “nine hundred older children were amusing themselves with bricks, clay modeling, and erotic play.”
Another such novel taught in Diamond Bar High School is “Oryx and Crake.” The main character narrates his history and how he came to be surrounded by the ‘perfect’ human beings amidst the dying world around them. Though the story itself is quite interesting, inappropriate content is also prevalent in this story, as there are many dark aspects to it like excessive gore and child pornography.
The amount of exposure to explicit content students encounter, to the point that they’re desensitized, is the main issue. It is clear that the majority have no qualms about reading or talking about these things, but that is exactly the problem with normalizing these topics in a school environment.
There is definitely something abnormal about an entire class of youths, who have not yet even become adults, freely discussing such topics in detail with one another. It is much more reasonable to leave that for them to explore in their own time or when they are fully independent.
There is no doubt that a number of students feel uncomfortable, or even disgusted, with being forced to read explicit content and discussing it in class for a grade. Even though I myself do not have a problem with reading about many of these topics, I have felt a certain degree of uneasiness when class discussions turn to violence, sexual activity and the like.
Given the above, parental outrage toward uncensored books is completely understandable if seen from their point of view. Even if your children are already aware of the explicit topics depicted in many novels, it would be far more disagreeable if you knew that they were being actively exposed to it in an educational environment.
In consideration of all those students and their parents who have no wish to be exposed to explicit material, it is best to have both parties sign permission slips when an uncensored novel is assigned or simply have the books stricken from the school’s curriculum. After all, there are thousands of books that have similar themes available for discussion without explicit details or language. It should not be difficult at all to find suitable alternative texts that will not upset the minds of students and parents.