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Alabama Parents Demand Banning of Books Because of Explicit Content:Research

By Vishakha Sonawane / Jul 17, 2013 10:04 AM EDT
  • Children
  • (Photo : Flickr/carmichaellibrary) Books Banned by Alabama parents

A study by the University of Alabama journalism students and newspaper The Anniston Star reveals that parental demand for banning of certain books is inexplicable and sometimes reeks of bias and restricted worldview.

The research observed data of book challenge forms of past five year from 132 public schools in the state. Of these, nine reported challenges, 77 reported no challenges and 46 schools did not provide any information.

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It also found that the opposed books are moved to reference sections and students are allowed the access only if they have parental permission.

This has resulted in banning of the books such as 'The Diary of a Young Girl,' by Anne Frank, 'White Oleander' by Janet Fitch, 'Chronicles of Vladimir Tod' by Heather Brewer, 'And Tango Makes Three' by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell.

According to Barbara Jones, director of the American Library Association's Office of Intellectual Freedom, only 20 percent of all book challenges are usually reported by librarians and school authorities out of fear of losing their jobs. "Transparency is important for democracy,' Jones told The Star. "Schools are no different. We need to know what's going on."

Parents give the silliest reason to ban the books, reported the Atlantic Wire. One parent of a Virginia school student said that 'The Diary of a Young Girl" had "sexual content and homosexual themes" and it deserved to be banned.

For Janet Fitch's novel, an Alpine parent said that the book contained too much sexual content and foul language. Another book that found its way to the reference section was Sheila Kitzinger's 'Complete Book of Pregnancy and Childbirth.' According to the parents the book showed "explicit drawings of how to make love while pregnant" and "pornographic pictures that should not be viewed by children, " reports the Atlantic Wire.

The school authorities restricted  access to the book .But, the authorities agreed that the book actually contained useful information for childbirth.

However, these are not the only instances where parents demanded a ban on books. In 2010, a California school banned the 10th edition of the  Merriam-Webster dictionary just because it added explanation of the word 'oral sex.'

Daily Mail reported that from 1990 to 2000, around 6,364 challenges were reported to or recorded by the Office for Intellectual Freedom.

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