Lila Benjamin

“Banned books” shouldn’t exist 

Dear  Editor, 

While this isn’t a prominent issue in our school I do believe it’s a matter that every school district should rule a verdict for. Books of any and all kinds should not be banned from schools.I recently saw an image resurfacing of a Barnes & Noble bookshelf that sold every book commonly banned from bookshelves. Almost all of the books shown had a deep, important message about things relevant to teenagers and students. Some dwelled on mental health, acceptance, history, and even censorship. Funny enough, 1984 by George Orwell is banned. If you don’t already know, one of the main themes of this dystopian story is censorship. 

 My two favorite reads of this year: The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky and Looking for Alaska by John Green, are both banned. Books like these are commonly banned for their talks on underage drinking or explicit scenes, but deeming something unreadable for minor parts of its story seems unfair. Perks specifically carries a strong message on mental health and abuse, which are heavy subjects that are still important to learn about. The main character, Charlie, suffers from depression throughout the story, which is a series of letters from his point of view. Being depressed is far more than common in this day and age, and the feeling of having something to relate to can be comforting for those who need it. These two novels aren’t the only things unrightfully banned, and each book should have an appeal in schools. 

I don’t want to create the impression that I think these books should be required. Reading something with heavy subject material should be a personal choice that a student can make him or her self. Plus, being assigned a book that you don’t want to read can make it feel discouraging and uninteresting. But nevertheless, these options should be available for those who are interested in it. According to the law, “banning” or making a book purposely unavailable to students is unconstitutional censorship. From a legal standpoint, it makes absolutely no sense why districts can ban literature at all. We’re in a learning environment, and it really isn’t like books with inappropriate segments or themes are going to convert its readers into doing whatever is being promoted. 

I can understand banning books in smaller, more secluded establishments, but we’re a public high school with over a thousand students. I was lucky enough to find some banned books in our library when it was open, but our selection can still be lacking at times. Some students aren’t big fans of reading on their own time, but like to on school grounds to pass time or do a reader’s workshop. These people aren’t going to go out and get books frequently, so limiting access just creates a gap of unreasonable censorship.

My only words of encouragement if you’re interested in these books or upturning the ban is to read them. Barnes & Noble, the public library and most bookstores supply books of all kinds. Even the ones deemed too inappropriate for school. These stories were written with the purpose of other people enjoying them, and school shouldn’t be able to take that privilege away.


Lila Benjamin