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The First Amendment Whose freedom of speech is violated by Censorship


1933 Nazi Book Burning The German student body of the Berlin universities ... Sports Illustrated (the swim suits, actually the girls) ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: The First Amendment Whose freedom of speech is violated by Censorship

The First Amendment? Whose freedom of speech is
violated by Censorship?
  • Intellectual Freedom

If we dont believe in freedom of expression for
people we despise, we dont believe in it at
all. -Noam Chomsky
Where they have burned books they will end in
burning human beings ---1821 Henrich Heine,
Harry Potter Book Burning - December 31, 2001
1933 Nazi Book Burning The German student body of
the Berlin universities assembled yesterday for a
torchlight procession on Hegel Platz Plaza.
They formed up, accompanied by a truckload of
25,000 books and writings harmful to the people.
What is the Ultimate Censorship for one author??
In an Interview in 2000 he was asked how this
fear affected his writing. It never felt like
fear, it felt more like disorientation and
bewilderment and confusion, and of course these
are very bad emotions out of which to write. So
it derailed my life for a while, and I had to
climb back onto the rails, I suppose.
Nobody in their right mind would give a book like
that to children on their own, except the
library. --Book Banner, Reno, Nevada, USA
  • The following are some of the titles of books
    have been considered dangerous in schools. (the
    red lettering is the reason)
  • Harry Potter Series (promotes witchcraft)
  • Sports Illustrated (the swim suits, actually the
  • Newsweek Time US News - (graphic nature of
    the photography )
  • Julie of the Wolves (wolves are depicted in a
    more positive light than the humans)
  • American Heritage Dictionary (it has bad words
    in it)
  • Bridge to Terabithia (How can Leslie be so good
    without Jesus-She is un-churched and Jesses Dad
    says damn three times)
  • Diary of Anne Frank (Anne tells Peter that he
    should believe in some religion, promoting the
    equality of all religions plus it is depressing)
  • A Math Textbook -(the illustrations are of candy
    and sweets which are not healthy)
  • The Giver (Banned for being violent, for using
    offensive language, and for its use of
    infanticide and euthanasia.)
  • Light in the Attic (encourages children to be
    rebellious - A suggestive illustration that might
    encourage kids to break dishes so they won't have
    to dry them. )
  • U.S. History of Our American Republic (Textbook)
    (conveys a too negative picture of US History)

People that object to books often use words that
rile and stop dialogue. These words are sometimes
called the famous isms. Politicians use these
words way too often. What is pro-family for one,
may not be pro-family for someone else. The most
important truth to remember is that most book
challengers and censors are motivated by fear.
  • Pro Family Secular Humanism
    Globalism Patriotism Racism Sexis
  • Sexual Harassment Satanism
    Feminism Anti-American Violence
    Excellence in Education

What is the difference between a book banning and
a book challenge?
A book challenge is the process that is hoping to
lead to a change of access to a book. A book
banning removes access to the book. This access
may be to an age level or to entire country.
Who, legally, may decide what you can read?
I always tell students until they reach the age
of emancipation (18) that their parents have the
legal authority to decide. Other than reading
material that could disrupt the educational
environment, schools do not have a legal right to
state what they can read. For example, for a
free reading assignment, a teacher cannot state
that the reading of Harry Potter will not be
The Reasons for Challenges
  • Morality Profanity Obscenity Immaturity of
  • Witchcraft Violence Religion Reproduction
  • Defiance of Authority Sexism Nudity
  • Abortion Evolution Racism Inaccuracy

When I have asked a classroom of students, what
does morality mean? The most common response is
you can die I tell them they are thinking of
the word mortality. I mention the word morals and
voila they understand. Because we live in a
pluralistic society, we can have more than one
morality. When students do not see this, I
mention the death penalty. I sayif a family is
opposed to the death penalty and another family
believes it is just one family more moral
than another..? It is important to consider these
words. I base book selection judgments for
students based on their maturity, the accuracy of
the information and plus the worthiness of the
The following two slides provide statistics on
book challenges in Oregon and on the following
page, book challenges in the USA. Many times
challenges are not are not successful. However,
because they are so emotionally charged it often
has serious effects. Good selection policies in
both libraries and schools help prevent
challenges and most important help defend such
challenges. 549 Challenges from 1987-2005 421 in
Public Libraries) 148 in School (Libraries and
Classrooms) 340 Children or Young Adult 209
Adult Reasons Scary or violent 103
Graphic sexual content or explicit language
208 Witches, occult 65 Homosexuality
67 Other (defiance of authority, racist,
encouraging bad behavior or disrespect, violent
illustrations, too mature a theme,
inaccuracy)-112 Result of the Challenges
Materials retained - 471 - 87
Reclassified - 21 - 3 Restricted 20 - 4
Replaced 1 - 1 Removed 25
5 June 30, 2004 - June 30,2005 (last year of
record keeping) 20 Challenges (15 Books, 2
Graphic Novels 1 Video/DVD, 1 Magazine,1
Audio/Book) Children/Young Adult-14 Adult -12
Retained All 20 Illustrations excessively
violent or scary-6 Sexual themes, graphic
language-12 Witchcraft 0 Homosexuality
2 Promoting racial hatred, religion teaching,
disrespectful, maturity of user-4 http//www.orego
Oregon 18 Years Overview of Challenges
USA Overview 1990-2005
Opposite of Oregon We have less challenges in
8,295 Challenges in fifteen years. 405 in 2005
24 in Public Libraries 71
in School Libraries and Classrooms Reasons
Graphic sexual content- 1,907 Challenges Up
161 from the previous year. Offensive language
-1,727 Up 165 Witches, Occult 1142 Up 70
Homosexuality 815 Up 18 Not Age Appropriate
(encourages defiant behavior, disrespect, too
scary etc.) - 1,556 Up 89 Promoting a religious
viewpoint 719 Up 22 Nudity 357 Up 20 Racism
287 Up 22 Sex Education 294 Up 7 Anti-Family
232 Up 9 Please note that the number of
challenges and the number of reasons for those
challenges do not match, because works are often
challenged on more than one ground. ALA on
Censorship http//
Who are the Censors ?
  • The following is a compilation of the challengers
    by type
  • Parent3891
  • School Board Member-232
  • Patron878
  • Administrator596
  • Teacher-178
  • Religious Organization-108
  • Clergy - 92
  • Elected Official 14

Who are the Silent Censors?
I say silent, because we do not have a written
record of their objections.
Editors Publishers (Librarians???)
Forms of Censorship
  • Deliberate Removal
  • 1. Official (Request for Reconsideration of
    Materials following a written procedure.
  • 2. Unofficial (take, throw away)
  • Subtle Selection- The perspective of the
    individual or group making selections can be
    one-sided, sometimes from lack of wide knowledge
    of literature for children, sometimes from a bias
    against certain types of books or their content,
    authors, or illustrators.
  • Deliberate Exclusion - Collections of materials
    may exclude examples which would lead to a
    balanced presentation of people and events, so
    children have only one or two viewpoints from
    which to make judgments on complex and frequently
    controversial matters. These become grievous
    omissions when the sole presentation is a
  • Alteration- Pages or words are sometimes deleted
    from books and illustrations changed, either in
    anticipation of, or upon receipt of, objections.
  • Required Book List- (In some communities every
    child is expected to read all books on a list.)
    Such a list can deliberately or subtly exclude
    from the child's reading many fine pieces of
    literature. This practice more frequently occurs
    at the secondary and college level, but incidents
    in elementary schools have been recorded.
  • Direct Edict- The "authority" who, without
    justification, issues an order that certain
    materials are not to be part of collections.
  • Suppression by Community-Community members or
    special-interest groups may oppose the purchase
    of certain books for children, may object to the
    taxpayers' money being used to buy materials they
    do not want their children to read, and may
    demand removal of the materials from public
    institutions such as schools and libraries.
    Violence and book-burning have sometimes
    accompanied confrontations.

The Challenging Procedure in Public Schools and
Public Libraries
  • Someone objects and expresses opinion
  • Discussion with teacher, library media specialist
    and/or administrator
  • Often ends here
  • IF not -
  • Challenger fills out form usually called
  • Request for Reconsideration of Materials
  • Letter of receipt and invitation for conference
    to address concerns
  • Often ends here
  • If the form is filled out and submitted the
    following usually occurs
  • Committee Formed (administrators, parents,
    teachers, board members)
  • Material Read and Reviewed
  • Group Majority Decision

Citizen's Request for Reconsideration of a Work
(This form comes from NCET WEBSITE) Author
______________________________________________ Pub
lisher (if known) ___________________Request
initiated by ________________ Telephone
_______Address ____________City ____Zip Code
____ Complainant represents ____
Himself/Herself ____ (Name organization)
______________________________ (Identify other
group) _______________________ 1. Have you been
able to discuss this work with the teacher or
librarian who ordered it or who used it? ____ Yes
____ No 2. What do you understand to be the
general purpose for using this work? a. Provide
support for a unit in the curriculum?___ Yes ___
No b. Provide a learning experience for the
reader in one kind of literature?___ Yes ___
No c. Other ______________________________________
____ d. Did the general purpose for the use of
the work, as described by the teacher or
librarian, seem a suitable one to you? ____Yes
____ No If not, please explain. 4. What do you
think is the general purpose of the author in
this book? _______________________________________
____________ 5. In what ways do you think a work
of this nature is not suitable for the use the
teacher or librarian wishes to carry out? 6. Have
you been able to learn what is the students'
response to this work? ____ Yes ____ No 7. What
response did the students make? 8. Have you been
able to learn from your school library what book
reviewers or other students of literature have
written about this work?____ Yes ____ No 9. Would
you like the teacher or librarian to give you a
written summary of what book reviewers and other
students have written about this book or
film?____ Yes ____ No 10. Do you have negative
reviews of the book?____ Yes ____ No 11. Where
were they published? 12. Would you be willing to
provide summaries of the reviews you have
collected?____ Yes ____ N 13. What would you like
your library/school to do about this work? ____
Do not assign/lend it to my child. ____ Return
it to the staff selection committee/department
for reevaluation. ____ Other--Please
_______ 14. In its place, what work would you
recommend that would convey as valuable a picture
and perspective of the subject treated?___________
_______________________________________ Signature
The Hundred Most Frequently Challenged Books
As you have probably gathered, book censorship in
schools and public libraries is alive and well.
To understand the fear that many well meaning
people have concerning content in books for
children and young people, I would like you to go
to the PABBIS website. Remember books should be
defended, but we as educators have to understand
and believe in the value of the literature we use
and promote. There are many books on the PABBIS
site that I would be willing to defend to the
Supreme Court that they exist in high school
libraries and public libraries. However, some of
these books I would not promote or have at the
middle or elementary level. Maturity of user is a
selection policy, too. PABBIS Website for