Sunday, July 31, 2011

Censorship in Schools

Censorship in schools—now that is an emotionally charged issue. I am a teacher as well as a writer and I do not advocate censorship. I’m a proponent of common sense, the not so common kind, it seems.
In my twenty years or so of classroom teaching, I have seen the odd lynching and it’s a phenomenon that every teacher usually does the utmost to avoid. Whether or not any given resource is appropriate classroom material is irrelevant.
I don’t think that all materials should end up in the classroom, but those that do, ought to be justifiable. Several things need to be considered when choosing a resource. How does the material relate to the curriculum? Is this the best resource for the lesson? What is the nature of my clientele? A teacher can’t ignore the fact that every student in the class is someone else’s #1 concern.
A seasoned and intelligent teacher will not ignore these issues. The appropriate information should go home explaining the nature of the project and maybe even a sample of what students will be exposed to. A portion of that letter should explain how the lesson cannot be taught without the use of the selection. Finally, parents should sign at the bottom denoting their approval.
Parents who are adamantly opposed might be reasoned with or be given other options, but unless the opposition is a screwball looking for a fight, confrontation should be able to be avoided.

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