Increase in book banning creates major backlash


Photo by Alyssa Diaz.

Alyssa Diaz, Staff Writer

The ability to have and keep books in libraries has been a recent issue in schools across America. In our area, West Linn-Wilsonville schools made national news earlier this month for removing quite a few titles from their schools. Public and private school books have been attacked for “inappropriate” content. Books such as The Sun and Her Flowers and Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews, Beyond Magenta by Susan Kuklin, and Heartstopper, Vol. 2 by Alice Oseman have been recently challenged for their content. Most of the books that have been targeted by critics are books about people of color or the LGBTQ+ community. 

There are many arguments over taking away the ability of high school students to learn about different subjects. A specific argument for keeping books in libraries is that if parents would like to not have their children see the “inappropriate” content, they could ask their school librarians to not let their children check out these books, rather than taking away the right of other children to read them because a few parents don’t want their children to read materials with that content. 

TuHs librarian Jennifer Perez, shared her personal opinion on book banning. 

“Removing access to materials – one – makes people want to get those materials more, and – two – it takes away people who need that material,” she said. “The things that are getting banned are either things about addiction, anything about minorities or anything about sex. And those are things that teenagers have to deal with and are important, as well. So just removing that access to that information isn’t going to make these things not happen. It’s not going to make people not have sex. It’s not going to make people not be people of color or trans people. It’s just letting people stay in their little ignorant bubbles, and that’s not good either. It’s okay to not want to see these things, and it’s okay to not want to have access to these things, but you can’t remove the access for other people.” 

According to Perez, challenges to books in the Tigard-Tualatin School District have been limited so far. 

“For the school district, we are very fortunate. We have a huge policy in place for parents or students or any community member who wants to remove a book. We have had a few books challenged here. Milk and Honey is a particular one that I have had to deal with here. And I have been backed up every time by my principal and by my district librarian as to why we are not removing those books. There are so many [challenges] that I do not agree with. If anything, I do not agree with banning any of them. It just doesn’t make sense to me. I understand not having them in elementary schools, or middle schools; age-appropriateness is something to think about. But just taking them away completely is just silly.”