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The Mentor

The Mentor

The student news site of Manhattan High School

The Mentor

Banning Books solves Nothing


Recently, the topic of “banning books” has been circulating around the country due to an increase in the American culture war. Discussion on this topic has been brought up in many school districts over the past couple years.

Books have been getting banned for a variety of reasons, whether that is because of explicit language, excessive violence, usage of illegal substances, expressing different sexual orientations and even showing disrespect for parents and family.

In the past couple months, book bans have been causing an uproar throughout book lovers across the country, with classic literary works such as “To Kill a Mockingbird,” “Brave New World” and “Animal Farm” have faced bans since their introduction more than half a century ago. But book bans aren’t a thing of the past, and some books don’t have understandable reasons for being banned. Why is the book “Charlotte’s Web” banned from some school districts? One of the major complaints is that the story of the book has animals that can communicate just like humans.

Now, who is doing the book bannings? In recent years, book bans have been rising, hitting an all time high in 2022 with 1,269 attempted book bans, with 14% of those requests coming from members of the nationwide conservative parent group, “Moms for Liberty.”

It is also important to address and discuss important issues in our country’s history. The book “The Hate U Give” by Angie Thomas is one of the more recent books under strike. This 2017 young adult novel has been threatened due to its profanity and “anti-police” message. “The Hate U Give” is a powerful book that follows a female protagonist named Starr after the death of her friend, Khalil, at the hands of her city police.

As a frequent reader, I believe that the banishment of books from school libraries is a travesty to the “education” schools are supposed to provide their students. Growing up, teachers encourage us to find books in libraries that interest us and relate to our lives. With book bannings, some of the most relatable and sensitive books are being taken away from student populations.

I think there is a difference between banning books and just not having some books in our school. There are some books that can be deemed as inappropriate to have in libraries of elementary, middle and high schools. Those decisions should be up to the adults in each school. But completely banning books is a violation of the constitutional rights of freedom of speech and freedom of expression.

Books are unique because they can bring readers in and help them feel seen. Banning books that address certain “sensitive” topics can make the readers that have those issues in their life feel the complete opposite. I urge those who have books banned from their libraries to not give up on reading what you want.

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