How Many Books can we Ban?


Recently the “CVS Watch” group has compiled a list of “Bad Books”, that they feel should be removed from the access of Chippewa Valley School students. 

The CVS Watch is a parent group that involves themselves heavily with the Chippewa Valley district, by doing things such as contacting administrators, attending board meetings, and posting on Facebook. Their mission statement states, “We are invested parents and community members of the students at Chippewa Valley Schools. We are dedicated to committed parental involvement in our schools. We support quality education, traditional values and preparing our children to be successful community members.” 

 According to their site, their mission is that “students are guaranteed a safe place to learn without adult content or adult issues, parental involvement is required; all students and staff are supported by us. We are eager to help our fantastic students and staff, each student feels supported, respected, and safe, to achieve maximum academic potential, healthy boundaries are practiced and encouraged, personal accountability for all students, teachers, staff, and board members is practiced and enforced.” They also list their values as common sense, respect for academic goals, and commitment to keeping our students, teachers, and community focused on quality education for all students. 

Their attempt to practice this mission and these values was the creation of their “Bad Book” list, which is essentially a list of books they and consider to be “aberrant” and “too mature” for public schools. This opinion and decision was based off the concept of a new definition of young adult, claiming that “most scholarly and governmental sources” put young adults between the ages of 18 and 26. They believe this means no books listed as “young adult” should be in elementary schools, and none of the books listed “adult” belong in schools at all. 

Here is the CVS Watch list of books they would like to ban: 

Here is a list of books already banned in America:  

The issue with these parental complaints is where do we draw the line? Many of these books speak on real world topics that must be discussed in a safe space such as the classroom. Is it that these books are not the proper source to educate on these topics? Or, are we attempting to banish real world issues that are just hard to talk about? 

Whether a books align with an individual’s beliefs or not should not be the factor that determines the content provided in the education at Chippewa Valley Schools. A public school district such as CVS is not aligned with a religion, discussion of racism is critical, as it teaches students how to be good humans and it is a part of our nation’s history, and discussion of homosexuality is something students must have to ever function in the real world. When handled correctly an appropriate age, discussions about varying topics- even ones that are called “controversial” or “difficult”- are necessary to prepare CVS students for any way of life. Our students are the future leaders of this world, and ignorance is the last thing they need to be successful.  

There are some books that are inappropriate for a classroom setting, but there are also many that are just difficult to discuss and understand. The difficult and misunderstood conversations are still important to have. As parents push to ban books, it is important for the people in charge to ask themselves, “will this help our children grow?” rather than “does this align with my opinions and values?”. It is crucial to help CVS students learn and prepare for the real world, instead of cutting off their access to important ideas and discussions they cannot be successful without.