top of page

Unveiling the Pages: Censorship in Schools

By Jack Gladson

Photo by Dariusz Sankowski from Pixabay

In Richmond, Virginia, the Hanover County School Board voted to ban 19 different books from its school libraries. Sean Jones of the Richmond Times found that the list included “titles like ‘This Book is Gay,’ Juno Dawson’s young adult nonfiction book about sexuality and gender, and George M. Johnson’s ‘All Boys Aren’t Blue,’ a series of personal essays about growing up Black and queer.”

Schools are intended to be spaces of learning, where students are encouraged to explore a plethora of ideas and concepts. However, recent waves of censorship threaten the intellectual freedom of educators and the development of children. The American Library Association found that in 2022, 1,200 challenges were made by schools and public libraries to ban educational material, which is almost double that of the record total in 2021. Deborah Caldwell-Stone, director of the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom, stated that the majority of these bans were targeted at books with LGBTQIA+ or racial themes.

Across the nation, the majority of books being banned cover topics related to race, gender, sexuality, and disability, as they portray the worldviews of their authors and narrate the experiences of various identities. These bans are incredibly harmful as they reinforce existing structural biases and prevent students from building skills such as empathy, critical thinking, and cultural understanding. In order to develop, children must be exposed to a plethora of perspectives, histories, and viewpoints. By censoring books written by authors from marginalized communities, school districts are restricting the growth of their students and erasing crucial narratives. Banning these authors sends the alarming message to young minds that certain voices are unworthy of exploration in the classroom. Research has shown that when students do not see themselves in their authors, they have an increasingly difficult time identifying with the subject and see less chances of academic success. However, when students feel represented by the course materials and instructors in the classroom, they are given a sense of belonging and are more likely to pursue that field.

Now more than ever, it is crucial that we advocate for the teaching of diverse viewpoints in schools; educators must be capable of fostering learning environments where all children can have their voices heard and respected. Through exploring a wide range of literature and celebrating the contributions of marginalized communities, schools have the potential to equip a generation of students with the skills necessary to challenge the status quo and help build a more inclusive society.


bottom of page