The Republic school system in Missouri has decided to ban Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five and Sarah Ockler’s Twenty Boy Summer. Look, schools have a right to decide what books they use and don’t use, but schools also have the responsibility to recognize that they hold cultural and social power within their districts. If your child goes to schools that only have books that support one religion, one culture, or one of any type of thinking, that is the thinking that they will have. For a lot of people, that seems to be enough:

Wesley Scroggins, a Republic resident, challenged the use of the books and lesson plans in Republic schools, arguing they teach principles contrary to the Bible.

“I congratulate them for doing what’s right and removing the two books,” said Scroggins, who didn’t attend the board meeting. “It’s unfortunate they chose to keep the other book.”

I’m sure many people have spotted my issue with this quote. They teach principles contrary to the Bible. I’m sure that’s not much of a problem at their school (strictly speaking, their demographic is probably 90% Christian), but what about that one kid who says in third grade that Jesus isn’t his family’s savior? I don’t see a welcoming, inclusive, and educational environment for any kid who may attend their school in the future.

Why not just have a Restricted Section (a la Harry Potter’s library) where books that have been questioned can stay? Older grades can access them, or students must have a permission slip to check them out. The Missouri school district says that students can read the banned books as part of an independent study with permission from their parents, but they have to get the books themselves. The school will not supply it. Even though they have the book? Both of the banned books have been purchased by the school, but the students are no longer allowed to access those resources. I can’t even…I don’t know how to express my befuddlement.

What do you think? Is allowing the books in Independent Study (with parental permission) enough? Do public schools have a responsibility to provide every resource they can? And can they cite the Bible as a reason against a particular book?

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