Washington School Censors Fairy Tales

Robert Frost Elementary in Washington State canceled the touring theatre-troupe Studio East’s production of the Emperor’s New Clothes and demanded several edits to Snow White and the Black Forest due to fears that students would imitate the bad behavior of some of the characters. The plays, according to the school, violate its Human Dignity Policy.

NCAC, in collaboration with several members of the coalition, worked with a local parent and sent a letter to Lake Washington School District’s Chief Schools Officer. NCAC executive director Joan Bertin writes,

The school has many tools available to inculcate the value of human dignity, but censorship is not one of them.  Moreover, freedom of expression is itself essential to human dignity, as our Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights recognize.  The ability to think and express oneself according to the dictates of one’s own conscience is the very essence of freedom, and freedom is essential to human dignity.

Rather than demanding that the plays be re-written to omit the “objectionable” parts, the school could encourage students to explore the characters’ behavior based on the rules and values taught in school.

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Blogging Censorship is where National Coalition Against Censorship staff weigh in on the censorship issues on their minds.
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