Book Banning in my Backyard

According to this story in the Washington Post, the Culpeper Country school system has decided to stop using the Definitive Edition of Anne Frank’s Diary in classes.

"Culpeper County public school officials have decided to stop assigning a version of Anne Frank’s diary, one of the most enduring symbols of the atrocities of the Nazi regime, after a parent complained that the book includes sexually explicit material and homosexual themes.

…James Allen, director of instruction for the 7,600-student system…said that the more recent version will remain in the school library and that the earlier version will be used in classes."

Technically, since the book will continue to be available in the school library, I suppose it’s not a book banning. However, I still think it’s unnecessary, stupid and sad in much the same way that I think actual banning of books is unnecessary, stupid and sad.

According to Valerie Strauss, the most cited example of "sexually explicit material" in the book is this:

"There are little folds of skin all over the place, you can hardly find it. The little hole underneath is so terribly small that I simply can’t imagine how a man can get in there, let alone how a whole baby can get out!"

It completely boggles my mind that parents of middle school or high school age kids would find something like this so objectionable that they would go to the school and demand that the book stop being used. Not to mention the fact that it is more than likely a parent who did not even realize there was sexual content in the book until their kid mentioned it, which is to say, their kid has already been exposed to it and lived so what exactly are they trying to accomplish? And do they honestly, truly think that the sentiment expressed above isn’t something the any girl that age hasn’t already either figured out or at least wondered about?

I really just do not understand this idea that so many parents seem to have that withholding all information about the human anatomy and sexual behavior from their kids is a good idea. Are you trying to raise adults or just really big toddlers?


One thought on “Book Banning in my Backyard

  1. I completely agree with your article here. I know that when my classes started studying the story of anne frank in school we were all at least mature enough to understand the quote above, and the parents who complained are obviously not getting thier priorities straight by complaining about this “sexually explicit material.” hell, there are half-naked women in magazine ads and partial nudity in commercials, and not to mention the pornographic scenes which are exposed to younger people on tv and in movies at some point in thier life. this is nothing.
    this also reminds me of a situation we discussed in one of my classes once, where the story “to kill a mockingbird,” which i dont know if you read or not but is basicly centered around the harmful effects of racism, and was used by teachers to teach students about racism and that its wrong, but it was banned from the schools because parents complained that the “n” word was used, which is ridiculous because students of high school age are mature enough to understand that usage of the word is wrong, and its being used in the story to expose the truth really.

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