Now, more than ever, we must actively support teachers and librarians who courageously fight censorship in our libraries.
We need to be continually reminded that the responsibility of public schools is to help ALL, not just some, students. We must make resources available to everyone on a wide variety of topics, including those topics which might make some of us uncomfortable, but which might help others in their quest for affirmation of who they are. And we all could learn tolerance and acceptance if we had more understanding, which might just come from the very books which are being attacked.
We also need to be vigilant against censorship on a broader scale because censorship goes against everything that democracies need in order to thrive. Once we lose access to information, particularly as it applies to history, we live in a weakened and sorrier world.
I am a product of the Westerly school system and, as an English teacher at Ledyard High School (now retired) and a past president of the board of the Westerly Library and Wilcox Park, I have fought this fight against banning books and access to controversial material on several levels. Superintendent Garceau’s recent opinion piece in the Westerly Sun presented a reasoned argument which I fully support. If we do not defend freedom of access to information in our public schools, we are not fulfilling our responsibilities to the next generation.