Education Over Censorship

On Jan. 10, 2022, USD 345 held its annual board meeting, which consisted of a variety of topics. Over the last few board meetings, COVID-19 has been the main concern of most residents in the Seaman community; however, there was one topic in particular at that meeting that caught everyone’s attention..

A few women who were in attendance spoke in front of the board about the way books containing sexual assault and abuse were encouraging students to act on that behavior. For example, one of the women that spoke mentioned Dustin Leftwich, Jeff Pierce and many other SHS graduates and teachers that have been charged with sexual assault and exploitation. To put the blame on the books in the library for their actions is foolish and ignorant.

As a high school student, I would never think after reading a book involving either of those situations, that it would encourage me to behave in that way. If anything, reading and analyzing these books brings more awareness to the very real situations many teens go through in today’s day and age. 

The choices rapists and abusers make are their choices; they are not influenced by books, movies, or documentaries. Also, with today’s technology there are way more “influences” that show young adults these graphic contents. If parents are so worried about their children being influenced by these books, maybe instead they should engage in conversations with their children about the serious issues addressed in these books.

Wanting to get rid of books with these devastatingly real issues only silences them. Issues like these are almost always silenced, and when an attempt to talk about them is made, the conversation is shut down. With this happening so often, especially at school, it is a high possibility that students in these situations do not feel safe enough to speak out, due to the fear of being silenced. These books are not to promote the behavior that is in them, but to spread awareness about the trauma that emerges from those events. The adults that spoke on this so-called issue should turn their attention to the teens that are carrying out these acts of violence. The books are not the issue the abusers are, and banning these books from SHS will not change them as people.

Rather than working to change the books students have the opportunity to read, the focus should be on educating students on the tough topics of sexual assault and abuse.