Who bans books anymore? It happens more often than we might realize. In the  Houston Chronicle on Sunday, September 8, 2019, was an article bearing the headline, “Catholic School Library Removes Harry Potter Series Books.” It began as follows:

“Before the new school year began, Father Dan Reehil turned to several exorcists for advice. Reehil, a pastor at St. Edward Catholic School in Nashville, Tenn., was worried about the heretical lessons that students could learn from the Harry Potter books, he wrote in an email to faculty members that was obtained by a local TV station. At the advice of the exorcists he consulted, who shared his concerns, he purged the series from the school’s library.”

Parents were the ones who complained about this arbitrary action, claiming that “the decision had been made without input from the parents or other school administrators.” The Harry Potter books had not been “deemed age-appropriate for students at the pre-kindergarten-through-eighth grade school.” The author of the article, Antonia Noori Farzan added “…the Catholic Church has not taken an official position on the Harry Potter series” and added that to her knowledge, no other school in the diocese has done so. St. Edwards has said it doesn’t “get into censorship ” beyond making sure books are age-appropriate. As a sort of a compromise, the school has said students will be able to read the books but would not be able to check them out of the school library.

Just this weekend, a friend (a former 7th-grade student) sent via Facebook an article, accompanied by a picture of the famous courtroom scene of the movie, which reported that To Kill a Mockingbird had been banned by a school district because it made some people “feel uncomfortable.” Her response had been “Mrs. Longest, Whhaat? I replied, “I thought that was what good literature was supposed to do–make the reader feel uncomfortable with the status quo.”

Still, books are being banned and censored, not only for our children but for adults. Let’s pray people who take on the role of censors can be stopped, and we still have the freedom to read in our country.


Author: Rae Longest

This year (2019) finds me with 50 plus years of teaching "under my belt." I have taught all levels from pre-K "(library lady" or "book lady"--volunteer) to juniors, seniors, and graduate students enrolled in my Advanced Writing class at the university where I have just completed 30 years. My first paying teaching job was junior high, and I spent 13 years with ages 12-13, the "difficult years." I had some of the "funnest" experiences with this age group. When I was no longer the "young, fun teacher," I taught in an elementary school setting before sixth graders went on to junior high, teaching language arts blocs, an assignment that was a "dream-fit" for me. After completing graduate school in my 40s, I went on to community college, then university teaching. Just as teaching is "in my blood," so is a passion for reading, writing, libraries, and everything bookish. This blog will be open to anyone who loves books, promotes literacy and wants to "come out and play."

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