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Parents or other adults should be able to ban books from schools and libraries

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/16/2018 Category: Education
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,581 times Debate No: 119009
Debate Rounds (5)
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I am not sure if anyone will accept this debate, But nonetheless I'm going to state my position on this topic. For anyone who is interested in debating my arguments are here for you to read.

Parents and/or other adults shouldn't be able to ban books from schools and libraries because books help you get a better idea of the world and what our place in it is.

1. I understand some parent's concern of the book containing inappropriate topics such as; sex, Drug use, Violence, Etc. Although it is just to want to control what your child is exposed to, It's not fair to restrict what books are available to other students. If you are against your child reading a certain book you can simply prevent them from reading it and let the school know while giving other students who actually want to read the book a chance to do so. "Even books or materials that many find 'objectionable' may have educational value, And the decision about what to use in the classroom should be based on professional judgments and standards, Not individual preferences. " stated the National Coalition against Censorship. [1]

2. Some books may talk about/touch base on inappropriate topics yet it is crucial that students understand the risks and outcomes that could occur due to an uninformed decision. These books can help you make an informed decision so that you won't regret anything later on in life. If the book is appropriate to the child's age level they have no need to prevent them from informing themselves about the cause and effect of something. Robbie H. Harris who is someone who constantly challenged children's books that talk about mature topics (like sex and sexual health) stated that "I think these books look at the topics, The concerns, The worry, The fascination that kids have today. . . It's the world in which they're living. " [2]

To sum it up, I believe that if the parent(s) of the child doesn't want their child(ren) to read the book they can stop them from doing so. But, The book should still remain in the schools and libraries so other students have access to it as it can benefit them.

[1] National Coalition against Censorship, "Censorship and the First Amendment in Schools: A Resource Guide, " webjunction. Org, May 9, 2016.

[2] Jessica Gross, "Unsuited to Any Age Group, " lareviewofbooks, Sep. 26, 2014.



(I would like to make it clear from the start that I am against the idea of banned books, And am thoroughly against censorship. However, I have decided to argue for it here in order to have an interesting debate and to allow for myself to consider the other side. )

Banning books may sound bad, But it is actually absolutely necessary. There is a lot of potentially toxic content in the world that could easily slip its way into the hands of young children. This is not an exaggeration. On the Internet, It has become easier and easier to access pornography, Violent content, And other forms of potentially offensive material. To protect against this, Public libraries and schools have put filters and locks into place to prevent children from accessing such problematic content. There is no reason that print media should be treated any differently.

Even those who advocate against banning books still have times in which they advocate bans. Almost nobody would argue that copies of Playboy or guides to building explosives like The Anarchist Cookbook should be available in schools. Parents, Educators, And the general public know that certain books are not to be in the hands of children. This is the same issue at hand that has created the ratings system for films. To say that books should not be banned at adult request is ridiculous.
Debate Round No. 1


I'd like to start off by saying thank you for accepting my debate as I wasn't sure anyone would do so. Hopefully, Through this debate I'll be able to understand the other perspectives a little better.

Banning books may sound bad, But it is actually absolutely necessary.
- You are right when you mentioned that "there is a lot of potentially toxic content in the world that could easily slip its way into the hands of young children" because nowadays kids as young as 7 know about sex (all the details) and potentially watch porn. It is understandable to put filters and censors, But some of the content can actually benefit the child and help them understand what is wrong and what is right (for example: doing drugs have a negative toll on your health, Abstinence is key when it comes to sex, Etc. ). Couldn't you just create a system where schools and libraries require your library card to show your age so that you can only get content appropriate to your age. If you're afraid someone will lie about age simply have their picture on the card which some school libraries do. The content which is deemed to be inappropriate can be isolated from the regular books so that people can only get access to it if they get explicit permission.

Even those who advocate against banning books still have times in which they advocate bans. - I agree that books like Playboy shouldn't be available in schools, But the chance of such books being there is rare in the first place. But if the ban of a book results in the lack of knowledge of a subject that is greatly affective youth it could have a negative toll. It also shouldn't prevent others from being able to learn if they want to do so as I mentioned earlier.

To add on to my arguments from before I'd like to speak about an author who spoke out about his banned books. John Green (who is an American author) wrote the book Looking For Alaska which has been challenged (people want to ban it) due to offensive language and sexually explicit descriptions. He defended himself by saying “In context, The novel is arguing really in a rather pointed way that emotionally intimate kissing can be a whole lot more fulfilling than emotionally empty oral sex. ” [1] As you can see here although it does contain explicit content the purpose of the book wasn't to encourage such things but to help others know that there is another option that doesn't have negative outcomes. Then the American Library Association (ALA) also defended him by stating “Challenges do not simply involve a person expressing a point of view; rather, They are an attempt to remove material from the curriculum or library, Thereby restricting the access of others. As such, They are a threat to freedom of speech and choice. ” [1]

Also in some countries there are strict laws and rules to ensure that such content doesn't get into the wrong hands. I'm not sure as to which countries they are and what are the laws. I'll look into it and find something.

https://www. Theguardian. Com/childrens-books-site/2016/apr/26/john-green-looking-for-alaska-banned-censorship


All arguments that you are making in terms of specifically banned content is still referencing specifically banned content. The idea that pornography should not be in schools may seem rational, But it is also a form of book ban. All of these forms of content restrictions are content restrictions nonetheless, And they are necessary.

Simply requiring a library card to show age is a slippery slope. What is considered to be appropriate based on age? Who is to decide this? Even if one thirteen year old may be mature enough to handle a book with mature content, Not all of them will be. Having a simple age restriction doesn"t truly work, Considering that all children are different, And they cannot simply be divided up by age. If a book is considered to be potentially offensive, It should simply be banned from certain spaces to keep it from getting into the hands of people.

As is apparent to those who go to libraries, You don"t need to check out books to read them. One could easily pick up a book that is not approved for their age group, Or even steal it if they are interested enough. This is clearly problematic for keeping sensitive content out of the hands of children. If a book is readily available, One can read it, Whether or not there is some sort of restriction on their library card.

Aside from just pornography, There are many forms of literature that could be classified as dangerous. Books by fascists, Hate criminals, And others who inspire violence can put very dangerous ideas into the heads of people.
Debate Round No. 2


I wrote my argument earlier and pressed submit, But something happened to it and it got deleted so I'll try and remember what I wrote when writing for this round.

What is considered to be appropriate based on age? Who is to decide this? - The school board and libraries could decide (with the government if need be) what is considered the appropriate age. When deciding the age they could get the input of parents so that it isn't biased towards a specific group. Even if it's only one thirteen year old that is mature enough to handle a book with mature content, One is better than none. Parents and adults shouldn't have the right to restrict other students who are mature enough to read books with mature content from doing so. For your point regarding a book being considered potentially offensive please go near the bottom to see my points regarding that.

As is apparent to those who go to libraries, You don"t need to check out books to read them. - You are right about that, But the same applies to stores where books are sold whether it be a book store or simply a store. Even there children easily have access to books and they can read them right then and there without purchasing them as some do so already. I'd like to propose a system where the books deemed "inappropriate" should be kept somewhere separate and in order to take out the book you must be accompanied by a parent/guardian who gives you permission to do so. In order to read said book you must also take it out.

If a book is considered to be potentially offensive, It should simply be banned. . . - What do you consider to be "potentially offensive"? Would having a supporting gay character in a book be "potentially offensive"? There is a book called Drama by Raina Telgemeier that is aimed for people in grades five to nine. In the book there is a supporting gay character who wasn't revealed as a gay character until you were well into the book. Since such a fact wasn't explicitly stated on the book cover, Title or summary some parents didn't like it and wanted to return the book. Some schools even went as far as to ban the book because it contained LGBT content.
According to Hornet "Chapel Hill Elementary School in Mount Pleasant, Texas — a 457-student school about an hour’s drive from Arkansas and Oklahoma — banned the book. " Tell me, In what way was that fair? In my opinion a gay relationship isn't in any way potentially offensive. Throughout the years the LGBTQ+ community has become more accepted and there really should be no reason to ban the book. Most parents who wanted this book banned from schools tended to be religious because "it was against their religion". Where as I believe god taught us to love everyone. The district of Texas' elementary school banned it for its “sexually explicit” content which happens on page 188 where "a boy is forced at the last minute to take over the role of Miss Maybelle, The play’s female lead. During a big musical number, Union soldier Mr. Johnston and Southern belle Miss Maybelle share a kiss, Much to the surprise of the audience. " In an interview Raina explained why the gay characters were included "It was always a central part of the story, And my editors were supportive from the earliest drafts. There was a lot of discussion about what ages the characters should be. I originally envisioned them as high schoolers, But Scholastic felt middle school was the right setting for the story. That meant adjusting certain elements to be more age-appropriate, But we all agreed that the finding your identity, Whether gay or straight, Is a huge part of middle school. "

*If any of my points seem to repeat itself I apologize.

[1] https://hornet. Com/stories/drama-2014s-most-banned-gay-book-you-havent-heard-of/


Homophobia is not a good reason to ban books, Obviously. There are clear reasons to ban books, However, That can be agreed upon by people on the right and the left. Inciting hate and violence are always problematic, And should always not be dealt with by giving them the ability to have their books out there.

Bookstores are places parents monitor their children going to, As opposed to libraries and schools. If a parent is allowing their child to go to the library or school, There is an assumption that they will be safe and not exposed to negatively influencing content. Bookstores, On the other hand, Are like any other form of business where parents have to regulate their child"s involvement. There is a trust in schools and libraries that is continuously degraded as long as negative texts are allowed to be there for anyone to access.

And in response to you saying if one child is mature enough to handle it, It"s worth it: I disagree strongly. If thousands could be offended, That is not worth it for one singular child who may think themselves mature enough to handle the content.
Debate Round No. 3


If a parent is allowing their child to go to the library or school, There is an assumption that they will be safe and not exposed to negatively influencing content. - A library is a public place and in a way a business because they make money off of fines, People printing paper, Buying books, Joining programs and more. It is accessible to anyone within that area or region meaning that both children and adults have access to it. Considering the fact that it is accessible to everyone, In my opinion you can not simply assume that it would be safe. Even when you ban a book there is a small chance that there could be content no matter how small of an appearance it makes that could make others dislike it. Even in libraries parents would have to regulate their child's involvement to make sure they don't get late fees, Damage a book or anything related to that. Since the parents are the ones that got the child the library card they most likely are there when their child takes out a book. In that case they can simply intervene and stop their child from taking out an "inappropriate" book.

If thousands could be offended, That is not worth it for one singular child who may think themselves mature enough to handle the content. - I understand where you're coming from in terms of how the vast majority wouldn't want that book to be there. But, I don't believe the ratio would be 1000:1 because that seems slightly absurd. There must be more than one child that is mature enough for that book containing mature content. Even if thousands could be offended what about that one child who believes that they are mature enough? Shouldn't their voice count too? Even if said child(ren) were in the minority (of whether a mature book should be at the library/school or not), They should be able to experience reading said book even though others don't want too. This would especially be true if they can't buy the book and the only way for them to access it is through the library or school.

Books that are banned tend to contain subjects that children find relative. For example the main character in the book could be going through something that they are and it gives the reader an opportunity to see how the character solves the problem. Then based on that if the method used to resolve the problem is good they could apply it to their own lives.

According to Common Sense Media, "Exploring complex topics like sexuality, Violence, Substance abuse, Suicide, And racism through well-drawn characters lets kids contemplate morality and vast aspects of the human condition, Build empathy for people unlike themselves, And possibly discover a mirror of their own experience. " So although the book you want to ban may contain mature topics reading such a book can help people understand human morals and what is right from what is wrong. Also, When you read a book that is challenged (people wish to ban it) it "is a learning experience and can help your kids define their own values and opinions of its content". This helps so that in the future the children can make decisions for themselves and know the consequences. It's also so that they believe in what they truly think is right instead of what others want them to think.

Source: https://www. Commonsensemedia. Org/blog/why-your-kid-should-read-banned-books


Though books can be a great way to explore complex topics and life lessons, These always end up being the job of parents to discuss. While it may be great to have a child read a book about people of other races and using that knowledge to learn essential lessons about tolerance, They could also pick up a book by a dangerous author like Adolf Hitler and begin to absorb those ideas as well. Young minds are very fragile. While sheltering children from what is bad in the world may be seen as negative by some who advocate against book bans, It is still a thing that most parents agree is necessary and good.

There is more to this than just the idea that children will pick up bad ideas. Books, Like movies or any other form of media, Can traumatize a child or make them deeply scared. A child who watches the Saw movies when they"re six years old probably isn"t going to become a deranged lunatic who puts people in horrifying traps; however, This movie could still do deep damage to their psyche in terms of triggering deep emotional fears. Books that deal with scary themes and topics can have traumatizing, Fear-inducing, And lingering effects upon a child"s mind.
Debate Round No. 4


Though books can be a great way to explore complex topics and life lessons, These always end up being the job of parents to discuss. - Not every parent is willing to discuss complex topics like sex with their children and schools don't always go into detail about the topic. Also, In some instances the topic could be about being gay and they might not want their child to be gay so they wouldn't talk about that in order to prevent them from feeling a certain way. Through books they could learn a lot. If schools or libraries were to have a book about Adolf Hitler I feel that it would most likely be about how he did a mass genocide (the Holocaust) and how millions of Jews died as a result. I highly doubt they'd "absorb the ideas" as you say. In fact they would probably realize how wrong it was unless they were brought up in an environment where people are racist and discriminative (perhaps their parents are). These parents believe it is necessary and good to shelter their children from this negative stuff when they'll be exposed to it sooner or later, So what difference does it make?

There is more to this than just the idea that children will pick up bad ideas. - Let's just say we were to ban that traumatizing, Fear-inducing book. Said child could still be exposed to true events in real life that happened and that could traumatize them too. If you don't want that to happen to your child you might as well ban movies, TV shows, News and media while you're at it. Either way said child will be exposed to such scenarios at one point in their life. Also, Most books that are banned aren't due to events that traumatize the reader. They are mainly due to offensive language, Being sexually explicit and for other reasons. Nowadays young kids swear a lot whether they learned this from an older sibling or somewhere else. To ban a book because of something that they're already exposed to in school seems like a waste of time especially if said book could be really beneficial to the child.

Gay men are present in numerous ways in Shakespeare's plays. People have used that as a reason to ban Twelfth Night because it "encourages homosexuality" as if there was something wrong with that. People even challenged and banned the Harry Potter series because they thought it to be "ungodly" and against their religious values since it "promoted witchcraft" which is completely absurd. Many kids these days grew up reading such a book and to simply take it away because it talked about fantasies that are nearly impossible isn't fair to say the least.

All in all I believe, That parents and other adults shouldn't be able to ban books from schools and libraries because it restricts other students from reading the book, Prevents them from learning valuable life lessons and some reason for banning said book shows how discriminative they are (e. G. Banning a book because it has LGBT content*).

*I know that earlier you mentioned "Homophobia is not a good reason to ban books, Obviously. There are clear reasons to ban books, However, That can be agreed upon by people on the right and the left. " (Round 3). But, Yet people use that as a reason to ban books whether it be because it's against their religion or because they simply don't like the LGBTQ+ community. If such reasons are going to be used ban a book then it will enforce this belief on their children that this wrong when there is nothing wrong in identifying as LGBTQ+.


If parents do not feel that their child is ready to grapple with complex adult topics, That is their parenting approach. Parents know their children better than any one-size-fits-all philosophical approach. The idea that the system knows children better than their own parents do is ridiculous, And any good parent could tell you this. I am not a small child anymore, But I can say with certainty still that my parents know me far better than any one-size-fits-all policy put forward to support some random philosophy-based policy.

You keep coming back to this idea of banning books automatically leading to censorship of homosexual themes. This is not necessarily and is not always the case. We still allow people to vote despite the fact that some of them are going to make bad decisions sometimes. Why? Because we trust that the basis of the system is sound, And is most of the time going to make the right decision. In most cases, The people end up making the right decision with the power that they are given. Much in the same way, The power of banning books will generally have good ends and good results, As people generally do right by their power. Many of the books supposedly censored for being gay are really banned for being absurdly sexual, Vulgar, And filled with other descriptions that are not for small minds to comprehend. Just because a little kid should accept that being gay is okay doesn"t mean they should be reading obscene descriptions of anal sex and fellatio.

Finally, We do have systems in place that seek to prevent children from seeing traumatizing content. This is why there are parental blocks in place on computers, Preventing the computers from being filled with videos of beheadings and disturbing fetish pornography. In the same way, Children are not allowed to go into movie theaters showing movies rated R without an adult guardian, And are never allowed into films rather NC-17. These systems work at keeping content out of the hands of children. Especially the issue of parental blocks on computers show that, Whatever the child"s age is, Parents can have a very positive role in filtering out what content their children are to view.

Trauma is not something children should just be exposed to because "that"s how the world is". Most sensible people can agree that there are reasonable times in life to be exposed to things, And at a young age should not be the time. Personally, I do not wish to take responsibility for the traumatizing and destruction of young minds. If a little bit of book-banning is necessary to protect the youth, I support such an approach. The world"s systems may not be perfect, But banning books sometimes is necessary to protect the common good.

(I want to thank you for taking me on in this debate. I do not generally side with the side I was arguing for, And I think debating it was a very interesting way of exploring both sides of thinking. I hope I have made compelling points, And I thoroughly enjoyed this debate, Even if I was supporting a position I am vehemently against in "real life". )
Debate Round No. 5
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by JasonGrace 3 years ago
Regarding my debate for Round 3 I'd also like to add that schools now integrate the idea of LGBTQ+ when teaching in certain classes so sooner or later these students will be exposed to these issues. Being in grade 5-9 in my opinion is a great grade to learn about such topics and inform yourself to better understand.
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