Book Banning x Prior Review = Censorship²

And for a high school in Portage, IN, it also equals attention from journalists and student rights advocates alike. There are two issues at hand. One is the banning of a book, “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” by Stephen Chbosky, from the ninth grade English curriculum. The other is a decision by the school administration to institute a policy of prior review of the student newspaper after an article on the decision to ban the book was published.

In removing the book, district administrators have bowed to the objections of a single parent, thus infringing on the First Amendment rights of students who want to read the book. Prior review – meaning that school administrators will be in the position to vet all articles before publication – imposes a chilling effect, threatening to limit the issues students choose to report on. For example, student journalists may be reluctant to write articles critical of school administrators’ decisions, knowing that such an article must first be submitted to them for approval.

So, not only have school administrators banned a book in this case, but the newly instituted policy of prior review compounds the matter, threatening to further censor student reading, as well as student speech.

Resources:

NCAC’s Book Censorship Toolkit

Student Press Law Center

About Blog of the National Coalition Against Censorship

Blogging Censorship is where National Coalition Against Censorship staff weigh in on the censorship issues on their minds.
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One Response to Book Banning x Prior Review = Censorship²

  1. Amaka says:

    Hello My name is Amaka Fasuyi and I am doing a project on banned books. The specific book that i am researching on is “The perks of being a wallflower”. In order to do this I need a personal interview from someone who is familiar with the banning of this book in Portage High school as a resource. I would appreciate it if you could help me with this. The questions I have are brief and I need your personal input.

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