School Censorship

February 19, 1993 • Volume 3, Issue 7
Why are complaints about American schoolbooks on the rise?
By Charles S. Clark


What Johnny can, should or shouldn't be reading in school is a question that inflames political passions. Across the country, irate parents are confronting school officials with demands that certain books be removed from required class reading, deleted from lists of optional reading or removed entirely from library shelves. Complaints range from profane language to sexual explicitness to “anti-Christian” images to unflattering renderings of minorities. School boards, teachers and parents have been joined by activists on the Right and the Left in battling the issues in communities and in the courts. The growing controversy has exposed fundamental legal and ethical questions over who makes decisions in a democratic society's schools, and whether parents who try to affect book selections are trying to exercise undue censorship.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Apr. 16, 2004  Broadcast Indecency
Mar. 28, 2003  Movie Ratings
Nov. 17, 1995  Sex, Violence and the Media
Feb. 19, 1993  School Censorship
Dec. 20, 1991  The Obscenity Debate
Dec. 07, 1990  Does Cable TV Need More Regulation?
May 16, 1986  Pornography
Jan. 04, 1985  The Modern First Amendment
Oct. 19, 1979  Pornography Business Upsurge
Mar. 09, 1979  Broadcasting's Deregulated Future
Mar. 21, 1973  Pornography Control
May 17, 1972  Violence in the Media
Jan. 21, 1970  First Amendment and Mass Media
Jul. 05, 1967  Prosecution and the Press
Jun. 28, 1961  Peacetime Censorship
Apr. 12, 1961  Censorship of Movies and TV
Dec. 23, 1959  Regulation of Television
Jul. 29, 1959  Control of Obscenity
Jul. 27, 1955  Bad Influences on Youth
Mar. 21, 1952  Policing the Comics
Apr. 12, 1950  Censorship of Motion Pictures
Sep. 20, 1939  Censorship of Press and Radio
Domestic Issues
Elementary and Secondary Education
Freedom of Speech and Press
Religion and Education