Letter to the Editor

Letters to the Editor can be submitted to the Hastings Star Gazette here. The Star Gazette reserves the right to edit and choose which letters get published.

The School Board recently held a meeting to discuss, in part, "book reports" that were said to be authored by several concerned parents. These reports were composed to draw attention to “objectionable” material in our schools' libraries but were cut/paste from websites. Even the Director who presented them admitted that not all the parents had actually read the books for which they were submitting a “report.”

Putting that aside, the real issue surrounding these reports appears to be that certain members of the community believe that parents should be the ones who decide not only what their children read, but what all children read. While I believe that parents have the right to direct their children away from certain materials, I do object when that same parent wants to dictate what is right for my child. Every parent needs to decide what is best for their own family, but only their family. Perhaps a book that is objectionable to one parent would be beneficial to the child of another, but if that book is pulled from the library, then no one has a choice. I don’t want my choices, or my children’s choices, taken away by others. Checking out a book is a choice.

Keeping books away from children does not mean they cannot access it. They can easily go online where the same material can be found. If a child is kept from a book, is that same child being banned from using their phone to go on the internet? Are they not given the Wifi password? Are they banned from YouTube? Ultimately, banning a book will never truly keep a child away from certain material as the information is easily available in other formats.

What is really needed rather than banning books is for parents to communicate with their children. Educate them on what you feel is right or wrong, but then trust that they will make the right decision. Trying to hide children from the world is not the answer. Getting them ready to encounter it is.

Tracy Borash


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