Censorship

Defending Challenged Texts

Do you find yourself wanting (needing) help to defend a particular text (e.g., Catcher in the Rye) from efforts to have it banned from your school’s curriculum or library? There are capable IATE members ready and willing to:

  • Send letters of support for keeping that text available in your school
  • Provide arguments and rationale for keeping that text available in your school
  • Supply you with helpful materials relevant to your need
  • Attend school board meetings with you in order to keep that text available in your school

IATE members who can help or who to contact if you have knowledge to aid in defending challenged texts:
Deborah Will
Work Phone: 847-731-9475
Home Phone: 847-625-0378

2 Responses to Censorship

  1. Laura O'Brien says:

    Hello! I am actually a pre-service teacher writing a paper about handling parental disapproval of a text (Of Mice and Men). I have to admit that although I think Of Mice and Men is an incredibly moving and thought-provoking story, I personally would have a very difficult time teaching it to young students for many reasons, including handling the racial epithets and (complex!) sexual implications. Are there any links you could provide me with for some food for thought? Thanks!

  2. Deborah Althoff Will says:

    I’ve responded to Laura’s specific challenge issue offline, but here are some general tips:
    1. Stay calm when talking to parents
    2. Have a rationale with an alternative text on file when you teach books that are frequently challenged
    3. Know that parents have a right to choose texts for their own children, but they do not have the right to make this decision for all children. (See NCTE’s pamphlet–The Students’ Right to Read)
    4. Understand that everyone in the conversation wants what’s best for the child, even if you differ in opinion about the proper course of action.
    5. Follow procedures as established by the Board of Education (and know what those procedures are)
    6. Alert administration immediately so that they can be prepared with the rationale

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