The student news site of Diablo Valley College.

The Inquirer

The student news site of Diablo Valley College.

The Inquirer

The student news site of Diablo Valley College.

The Inquirer

Book Censorship: Academic Freedom Comes at a Price, When Will American Schools be Willing to Pay?

Dear Editor,

Literature is arguably at the core of our education system in the United States, however this basic principle has been under attack in recent years. With 619 requests to censor library books in 2022 sent to the American Library Association (ALA), these numbers only grew more, with a recorded 1,050 requests the following year.

The country had dealt with book challenges in the past, having parents complain about certain books to local schools. However this issue is now being addressed politically through large conservative organizations nationwide. These groups involve themselves through legislative matters banning books that don’t fit their political or religious beliefs. Novels based around topics of sexuality, race, and gender are most targeted.

As Director of the ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom, Deborah Caldwell-Stone has worked around the topic of censorship in American education for decades. When interviewed in 2023 by CNN about the issue, she said, “We are seeing less and less of what used to happen, which was an individual parent would see their student reading a book and look at it and have questions about it and take it to a teacher or librarian to have a discussion. What we are seeing now is organized political advocacy groups go to school boards with an agenda with a long list of books they want banned because those books don’t fit their political, moral or religious agenda.”

Caldwell-Stone describes the shockingly fast-paced trend of powerful conservative groups pushing their political ideals into the current education system. Their plans of censoring information or facts they don’t agree with isn’t something they try to hide anymore.

As a current student in America having spent 12 years in many different English classrooms and school libraries, the freedom to access most books was a significant part of my learning. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case for many students today due to traditional beliefs being pushed into their learning procedures.

Counter advocacy groups like PEN America, try their best to defend writers and readers alike, across the country from challenges like this. PEN America aims to protect every student’s access and freedom to literature and information they deserve the right to. With hundreds of local cities and towns struggling with this issue I hope to spread awareness about it. Students and their instructors deserve the freedom of accessing stories despite whose political agenda they match.


Gracebelle Ma’ake

Concord, CA

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