Glen Ellyn School District 41 Board of Education recently voted 4-2 to ban The Perks of Being a Wallflower from Hadley Junior High School, despite a review committee of teachers and administrators recommending that the book be allowed to stay. The ban was requested by two parents of an 8th grade student. Please help urge the board to support freedom of speech and the pursuit of knowledge by voting again and reversing the ban on this book. If we keep young minds from grappling with difficult issues in books, how will they learn to deal with those issues in real life?
Learn more at http://hadleycensorship.wordpress.com/.
- Hadley Junior High
Glen Ellyn School District 41 Board of Education
We urge you to reconsider District 41's ban of The Perks of Being a Wallflower from Hadley Junior High School. Please reconvene and vote to support freedom of speech and the pursuit of knowledge, rather than censorship and the limitation of young minds. Make amends for a decision that Barbara Jones, director of the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom, told the Chicago Tribune was “stunning"--and not in a good way. This ban deprives students of the chance to think for themselves, confront difficult subjects they are already facing in real life, and enjoy a book that has inspired thousands of students. As Hadley's own literacy teacher Lynn Bruno said, "I have children in my classroom who need this knowledge now because they’re facing those issues… You cannot take away from children who need to have those conversations."
Even those who are not actively confronting the difficult issues brought up in the book can learn valuable lessons from its characters and situations. Books help young people learn about our world and deal with the uncomfortable, complex, dark–and yes, sexual–realities of that world. There is a place for morality tales and teaching parables, but by the time students reach middle school, they are confronting the fact that the world is not solely populated by good guys and bad guys or filled only with clearly defined, ethical and unethical choices. Restricting them to books that conform to (extremely subjective) societal values and ideals will not teach children to think for themselves. If a book does present characters and scenes that contradict young readers’ beliefs, they’ll be able to develop their understanding of why they believe what they do, whether they change or just reaffirm their convictions. If you keep young minds from grappling with difficult issues in books, how will they learn to deal with those issues in life?
Vote for the right of children to access thought-provoking, inspiring literature that confronts the world we live in.. Let The Perks of Being a Wallflower return to the shelves of Hadley Junior High School.
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