A Tennessee school board has banned a graphic novel based on the Holocaust for “curse words” and a picture of a naked mouse.
Yup– in the entire retelling of a Holocaust survivor’s story, that is what was found too lewd for eighth graders to read.
Now, while it is important to teach children according to their age demographic (leaving out things that may, perhaps, be too graphic for them), there is something to be said about too much censorship.
There are quite a few cases of banning books that specifically relate to topics regarding LGBTQ+ and race. The idea to filter through things when talking about education can be a dangerous line to walk. But should schools be teaching materials that directly conflict with parental views? To be clear, history is history, there are no opinions involved if facts are taught so history lessons should not be disputed. There are other subjects however, which spark more controversy than consensus. Matters concerning theoretical perspectives should perhaps be left alone, unless these are presented as what they are. Schools should teach a variety of perspectives but should certainly refrain from adopting a particular view or theory. In addition, parents should be able to provide informed consent regarding controversial materials being taught to their children.
Parents need to adopt a more active role in their children's education, but this starts at home, not only at school. Parents should be preparing children to be able to think for themselves and discern between competing views. Opening the lines of communication with your children will lessen the impact of societal trends and radical views. If you are not making time to address your children's questions or concerns, they will find their information and answers somewhere else.
Undoubtedly, a child’s education starts at home. Parents are the first teachers of the child; they also mold the child’s character. A good balance of education at school and home facilitates better learning. Parents have to inspire their children and have to travel with them in their educational journey. Most successful students tell the story of parental encouragement not only at home but also while they are at school. (X)
There are many instances that prove education helps children and young adults make better and more informed decisions. Not to mention, they are able to see every side of history and form their own opinions. Narrowing their view or sheltering them from the more “gruesome” or “graphic” side of things is a recipe for disaster. Especially in the age of digital information where all it takes is a quick Google search– isn’t arming our children with education the best form of defense?
This idea that we must shelter them from the “icky” bits will only prove harmful when they do find out about it. It can be shocking and make them feel blindsided to have an entire other world they never even knew about. There is no need to specialize when it comes to general knowledge and history. A broad understanding of the world will make someone more compassionate, more adaptable to change, and more accepting of other people’s views.
Don't shelter your children from what is out there. Instead, educate yourself in how to bring up sensitive matters and take charge in exposing your children to controversial subjects or views.
Another point would be: if you shelter them from it, when do you decide to drop that bomb on them? Or do you leave it alone and let others do it for you? When do they learn the history behind it all that isn’t veiled under rosy tint or censored information?
Narrowing their view to one thing, or putting horse blinders on them, isn’t helpful. The world is a vast and unique experience– would it not be best to arm them with as much knowledge as possible? In time, your child will be able to form his or her own opinions and decide what is "right" in their experience and worldview.
Our thoughts should be allowed to be our own,
but it’s difficult if we’re only hearing one side of the story.
Especially when we censor history. History is meant to be a lesson– something to learn from, no matter how gruesome or difficult to stomach. The phrase “history is doomed to repeat itself” becomes more prevalent when we chose to ignore its lessons. Do you feel uncomfortable addressing certain subjects with your child? You can get help from Z Form! The Z Form is a customizable informed consent that allows you to bring up difficult subjects for discussion. Get your Z Form now and see how it will help you in forming stronger connections.