Book Banning | The First Amendment EncyclopediaBook banning, the most widespread form of censorship, occurs when private individuals, government officials, or organizations remove books from libraries, school reading lists, or bookstore shelves because they object to their content, ideas, or themes. Those advocating a ban complain typically that the book in question contains graphic violence, expresses disrespect for parents and family, is sexually explicit, exalts evil, lacks literary merit, is unsuitable for a particular age group, or includes offensive language. The rally protested censorship by school and public libraries of certain books under pressure from right wing religious groups. Book banning, a form of censorship , occurs when private individuals, government officials, or organizations remove books from libraries , school reading lists, or bookstore shelves because they object to their content, ideas, or themes. Advocates for banning a book or certain books fear that children will be swayed by its contents, which they regard as potentially dangerous. They commonly fear that these publications will present ideas, raise questions, and incite critical inquiry among children that parents, political groups, or religious organizations are not ready to address or that they find inappropriate. Most challenges and bans prior to the s focused primarily on obscenity and explicit sexuality.
Book censorship "is the removal, suppression, or restricted circulation of literary, artistic, or educational material--of images, ideas, and information--on the grounds that these are morally or otherwise objectionable in the light of standards applied by the censor. The Marshall University Libraries, which conduct research on banned books in the United States, have defined a banned book as one that has been "removed from a library, classroom, etc. Public and school libraries in the US have the ability to limit children's choice of books to read. Some of the banned books are valuable in helping children discover their identities or educate themselves. Sponsors of literacy in education have carried out censorship, including parents, school boards, lobbying groups, clergy, librarians and teachers. During the s, a very prevalent form of book censorship in the United States was book burning. This book burning in Boston , Massachusetts is often referred to and even considered the "first book burning in America".
Understanding Censorship: Censorship is not easy to define. In many countries, censorship is most often directed at political ideas or criticism of the government. Advocates for censorship often target materials that discuss sexuality, religion, race and ethnicity—whether directly or indirectly. Others think schools are wrong to allow discussion about sexual orientation in sex education or family life classes, and others would eliminate The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn from the English curriculum because of racial references. Most pressures for censorship come from parents who disapprove of language or ideas that differ from or affront their personal views and values, but demands can emerge from anywhere across the religious, ideological, and political spectrum. Many demands appear motivated by anxiety about changing social conditions and traditions.
Should books be banned? Is the banning of books a violation of our first amendment rights? Why do schools ban books? These are all questions we have asked about book banning, so here are the basics of our first amendment rights and book banning. The rights I have listed are all the rights explicitly mentioned in the first amendment.
Presented by the John Seigenthaler Chair of Excellence in First Amendment Studies
NCAC presents the following collection of materials on the topic of censorship in schools for the use of students, educators, and parents everywhere. This information is not intended as legal advice. The First Amendment B.
Constitution passed by Congress September 25, Ratified December 15, One of the ten amendments of the Bill of Rights, the First Amendment gives everyone residing in the United States the right to hear all sides of every issue and to make their own judgments about those issues without government interference or limitations. The First Amendment allows individuals to speak, publish, read and view what they wish, worship or not worship as they wish, associate with whomever they choose, and gather together to ask the government to make changes in the law or to correct the wrongs in society. The right to speak and the right to publish under the First Amendment has been interpreted widely to protect individuals and society from government attempts to suppress ideas and information, and to forbid government censorship of books, magazines, and newspapers as well as art, film, music and materials on the internet. The Supreme Court and other courts have held conclusively that there is a First Amendment right to receive information; the right to receive information is a corollary to the right to speak. Justice William Brennan elaborated on this point in
The Preamble to The Bill of Rights. Congress of the United States begun and held at the City of New-York, on Wednesday the fourth of March, one thousand seven hundred and eighty nine. THE Conventions of a number of the States, having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: And as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best ensure the beneficent ends of its institution. National Archives. About the First Amendment. First Amendment Center " Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. Constitution About the First Amendment.