Censorship and Selection: Issues and Answers for Schools by Henry Reichman

By Henry Reichman

This can be the second one variation of a piece on how educators and librarians can maintain a loose market of rules in schooling whereas being conscious of, and delicate to, the varsity censorship controversy. principles are provided on how you can organize choice guidelines, deal with proceedings and meet demanding situations.

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Extracurricular Activities Although the decision in Hazelwood concerned a student newspaper that was produced as part of the curriculum in a journalism class, its arguments have been used to limit student expression in a broad range of extracurricular activities. Perhaps most notable has been the censorship of student theatrical productions. In some cases these performances are produced by students in formal drama and theater classes, and are thus arguably subject to the restrictions on “school-sponsored” activities imposed by Hazelwood.

To take just one example, a Pennsylvania high school student received an A+ for a sculpture of a nude female torso, but the principal ruled that the piece could be “displayed” with other student works only if draped under a cloth. 24 In the wake of several widely publicized school shootings, some schools moved to censor literary creations that they found potentially threatening, whether these were produced in or out of class. In one widely publicized case, nine students at Miami’s Killian High School—all members of the school’s art club—were arrested, jailed, and charged with hate crimes in January 1998 for their part in producing an obscenity-laced pamphlet that pondered the possibility of shooting the school’s principal.

2 In the majority of cases, however, controversy emerges when a complaint is seriously and sincerely supported by a significant body of opinion in the community. Recent efforts to remove or restrict access to school library or instructional materials have been most associated with politically T 43 44 Chapter 3 conservative or fundamentalist religious views. However, those who object to materials come from all points on the ideological spectrum. Liberal activists fighting against race and gender stereotyping have sometimes used censorious tactics they are quick to condemn in others.

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