The Buzz for Nov. 4: Removing books from public schools – The Virginian-Pilot

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The Buzz is a weekly question about an issue affecting the residents of Hampton Roads.
Previous comments about removing books from school libraries are incorrectly categorizing it as “book banning,” including equating it to 1930s Nazi Germany. Book bans prevent everyone from reading the books. Current efforts are to remove books from grades where children could read content parents deem offensive. If you approve of the books, then buy them.
Tom Forrest, Virginia Beach
Regarding sexually explicit material in general, it is the absolute right of the parents to decide when and if it is appropriate for their child, as they are the ones who will have to deal with the consequences of a misjudgment of the child’s readiness. Written permission should be required.
Wm. Donald Tabor Jr., DDS, Chesapeake
I trust that book-banning advocates have also completely removed cell phones, computers, radios and TVs from their children’s lives, forbidden contact with their peers, and provided ear plugs and blindfolds for everyday use.
Virginia Dopp, James City County
I wish I could write a book that got this kind of free advertising. As a teenager, we hadn’t heard of Lady Chatterley’s Lover until the puritans put up a fuss about it being “bad.” We all had to read it. Certainly, don’t want our youth to read about reality.
Joseph L. Bass, Suffolk
Are these book-banning people also demanding that public schools not teach American history in its entirety? Are they ginning up a solution without a problem? They should put down the pitchforks and torches. They need to read to their children and let them read age-appropriate books. They may learn something.
Chuck Smith, Williamsburg
As a parent of a student, you have the right to ban your child reading certain books. But you do not have the right to outright ban books in school. Your views are protected under the Constitution, as are the rights of others to read whatever they want. Your views do not supersede the rights of others.
John Leavor, Newport News
Folks not familiar with “Lawn Boy” should research this remarkable book. Tony Morrison is a Nobel laureate and winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1993. Even contemplating removing any book by her makes me wonder just how ignorant some people want our students and citizens to be.
Georgette Constant, Norfolk
Graphic depictions of intimate sexual acts have absolutely no place in a school library or curriculum. If you wouldn’t read it at your dinner table, it’s not OK for children.
Denise Willert, Virginia Beach
Some parents say they are not trying to ban these books while they try to ban books. Can we now expect to see book burnings on the public square? Topics such as sexual abuse, segregation, the terrible stories about slavery and state efforts to keep that system are necessary for everyone to read and understand.
Joan W. Uhlar, Virginia Beach
Having not read either book, my test is, if I can’t read a book aloud to my kids or grandkids at the kitchen table or at bedtime, it shouldn’t be in their school library or part of a classroom assignment.
Don Vtipil, Norfolk
Parents should be able to express their opinions. However, they should not ever be allowed to be disruptive, nor abusive to the teacher(s). The decisions about what books to read are up to the teacher(s) Parents profanity alone disqualifies them attending ever again.
Toni Beacham, Williamsburg
I think that banning books will make them desirable and spur kids (and some adults) to read them.
Al Riutort, Newport News
I think it is totally inappropriate to have books glorifying incest, rape, etc. There are thousands of “appropriate” books available to choose from so why not put those in? If students want to read the other books, they can buy them. But they should not be assigned for class.
Joyce Southern, Newport News
Banning books of any kind is always a very bad idea. The suppression of Ideas because you do not agree with them stifles intellectual growth and development. Much of the current efforts seem to be both an effort toward political correctness and an effort to sway the Virginia governor’s race in favor of Glenn Youngkin.
Talbot N. Vivian, DHA, Yorktown
Nobody is forcing the children to read them, and in any case, they are probably encountering far worse elsewhere. I know when I was young (back when dinosaurs roamed), I picked up a lot of information (and misinformation) that probably was not what my parents would have wanted me to know at that stage.
Cari Mansfield, Hampton
Presenting explicit sexual violence scenes to our youth can never be good or sensible. It is one more example of the radical left-wing agenda. Why shove everything on our kids? Not a good idea. No redeeming value in either novel. Is this what “woke” schools look like?
Melinda Webb, Hampton
Are the books available for seniors in high school public school libraries? If they are I see no grounds for removal. Maybe in elementary school levels the books don’t belong. If there is a problem, send the kid to private school. There is always a Republican looking for your vote.
Robert Neely, Newport News
Removing books from a school is setting a terrible example to students. If the book is controversial and the parent/guardian has a legitimate objection, the teacher could permit the student to choose a different book. Students who don’t read the book can also be encouraged to join in class discussions about topics that could be deemed controversial.
Andrew Byrne, Hampton
One of my degrees is in history. One lesson I learned was those who ignore history or try to change history are doomed to repeat history’s mistakes. The close-minded, seething hatred of anything not white or not far right is palpable. I would say, “God help us!,” but I think God is saying “Where did I go wrong?”
D.A. Willard, James City County
The same way I would object to the removal of any of my four books on the market, including book stores and schools, for disturbing and/or salacious language. Authors have the rights to both the copyright and/or content. Parents have the responsibility to regulate what content is appropriate for their younger children.
Steven M. Yedinak, Newport News
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