We are a group of current and former students and parents in the Adams 12 Five Star School District who want to ensure a safe, supportive, respectful and productive learning environment for all students, as stated in the Adams 12 mission statement, by not censoring or banning educator’s access to teach certain reading material such as Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye. According to the National Council of Teachers of English’s The Students’ Right to Read:
“Schools have removed from libraries and classrooms and English teachers have avoided using or recommending works which might make members of the community angry. Many students are consequently ‘educated’ in a school atmosphere hostile to free inquiry. And many teachers learn to emphasize their own safety rather than their students' needs….Censorship leaves students with an inadequate and distorted picture of the ideals, values, and problems of their culture. The censorship pressures receiving the greatest publicity are those of small groups who protest the use of a limited number of books with some ‘objectionable’ realistic elements…. The most obvious and immediate victims are often found among our best and most creative English teachers, those who have ventured outside the narrow boundaries of conventional texts. Ultimately, however, the real victims are the students, denied the freedom to explore ideas and pursue truth wherever and however they wish.”
We are asking that teachers be allowed to retain the freedom to choose what reading materials they would like, or not like, to teach in their classrooms. No student is forced to read this material, as parents and students who object to these choices have always been, and will continue to be provided with an alternative reading assignment. The freedom to teach what some might call controversial material (such as The Bluest Eye that has previously been reviewed by the district and recieved district approval to be taught in classrooms) in a safe, supportive environment where students are allowed to ask questions and understand the material through careful instruction should not be taken away from any teacher or class simply because a minority of parents disagree with its content. If one book is banned from being taught in a classroom setting, then it opens the door for all books-- and ideas-- to be banned as well.
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