Banning Books Is Ludicrous And Dangerous
To the Editor:
The Newtown BOE is divided between party lines on whether or not to ban two award-winning books currently found in the high school library. At the May 16th BOE meeting, it was proposed that a “compromise” be made regarding these books. Both books have been read by our town’s Media Specialists, Superintendent, and other educators and have been determined to be age-appropriate and of value. Both books center LGBTQ issues and protagonists. Instead of an outright ban on Blankets and Flamer, the “compromise” being proposed would limit access of these books to students 16 years and older.
Are we to believe that no student younger than 16 is living with the secret that they are gay? That no LGBTQ freshman or sophomore needs support that they are not ready to seek from their parents? That only students 16 years and older might find value in encountering a person like themselves between the pages of these books? That only students above the age of 16 know about, are thinking about, or are having sex? Why are we being asked to dismiss the expertise and judgment of our professional educators and defer to the political whims of a small group of parents and four Board members?
This proposed solution would be a compromise, alright. It would compromise the 1st Amendment. It would compromise the relationship between Newtown educators and the BOE. Most importantly, it could very well compromise the safety and well-being of queer freshmen and sophomore students. To ban these books, which were written for this very age group, or to limit them to upperclassmen, is ludicrous and it is dangerous. Some things are too important to compromise.
Editor’s Note: At the May 16 Board of Education meeting, the board was split because of the absence of its seventh member. All four board members referred to in this letter have not weighed in with a final vote, yet.