Opinion: Censorship is a barrier

Mar 14, 2023

To the editor,

I am writing to express my concern regarding the current book banning efforts being promoted by some Tri-Town residents and the resulting negative comments being directed towards the ORR School Committee and Tri-Town Against Racism Organization. I am a Mattapoisett resident, graduate of a Master’s Degree Program at Boston University and a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. My professional career in Health and Behavioral Care has included addressing the marginalization of individuals and communities and its negative impact on humanity. March is National Social Work Month. “Breaking Barriers” is the 2023 theme. The rationale for this theme “Social Work Breaks Barriers That Prevent People and Communities from Thriving” is timely. Censorship is a barrier that directly impacts the ability for people and communities to thrive.

The American Library Association (ALA) defends intellectual freedom and recognizes and opposes efforts to censor books in schools and libraries. Banning books due to the opinion of a few who may feel uncomfortable with topics such as Racism, African American History, Sexuality and Gender Identity is a barrier to an informative and literate education free of bias. Education is essential to our Democracy. Our Public Schools are tasked with educating students and diversity, equity and respect for others is essential. Parents who feel strongly about materials have the right to notify school librarians to not allow their student access. Placing this barrier to access is however short-sighted. It ignores that role that search engines such as Google and Social Media play in the life of students who can easily access, share and disseminate information. Banning books impedes the opportunity in an educational environment for rigorous critical analysis and discussion to occur that supports students, expands worldview and promotes personal growth.

Kathleen E. Langford, Mattapoisett