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Jun 12 20 tweets 9 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
"WHAT'S AT STAKE when we talk about book bans is student learning and well-being," writes PEN America's @jonfreadom in @USATODAY. "Semantic gymnastics about what is or isn’t a ban is an effort to deny and distract from the problem." #BannedBooks #Reading…
"To avoid charges of #censorship, school administrators, government officials and groups like Moms for Liberty have taken to calling the results of their efforts 'quarantine' or 'curation' – anything but 'ban.'

This debate is not new." (2/x)
"Writing about book banning for The First Amendment Encyclopedia in 2009, Susan Webb explained, 'Opponents of publications sometimes use the tactic of restricting access rather than calling for the physical removal of books.'" (3/x)
"In this sense, it is not only the most blatant prohibitions on books that are of concern to those who believe in protecting the freedom to read, but also the full range of ways in which authorities may exert control over access to information," writes @jonfreadom. (4/8)
In Island Trees Union Free School District v. Pico (1982) "Justice William Brennan... emphasized that school libraries were owed constitutional protection from efforts by school boards to impose political or ideological constraints on books available to young people." (5/x)
"And that was affirmed by a U.S. federal district court in a 2003 case, Counts v. Cedarville School District, which held that requiring parental permission for students to access #HarryPotter books in the school library was an infringement on their rights." (6/x) #StudentsRights
"We need not face something as absolute as an eight-year prohibition—as happened recently to three books by @rupikaur_... —to be alarmed about the growing efforts to vilify, mischaracterize and constrain access to books about #racism or with #LGBTQ content in other ways." (7/x)
"What happened with #TheHillWeClimb by @TheAmandaGorman is no small thing. A parent filed an objection (stating) the book 'is not educational and have indirectly hate messages,' [sic] and saying that she believed the function of the material was to 'indoctrinate' students." (8/x)
"Despite the absence of further substance, school leaders took this challenge seriously and decided to move the book from general availability for elementary school students to the middle school shelves." (9/x)
"While district officials later told parents that the book was still accessible to all students, they also clarified that to access the book, elementary students will have to ask a media specialist for permission to see it and prove that they read at a fifth grade level." (10/x)
"Gorman’s book was not shifted from one shelf to another only to better guide student readers... but rather to impose a new restriction on it.... it can hardly be argued that it was... separate from efforts to suppress books and censor teaching in #Florida and nationwide." (11/x)
"The distinction between guiding students to books and restricting students from books is instructive... Three other titles were... restricted... at the same time: The ABCs of Black History by @OhReallyRio, Love to Langston by @PoetTonyMedina & Cuban Kids by George Ancona" (12/x)
"The idea that students would need to demonstrate reading proficiency at a fifth grade level before accessing these books... is alarming. Not to mention the subsequent mismatch, given that middle school students are not likely to be interested in an A-to-Z picture book." (13/x)
"When school districts reduce or prohibit access to books in response to the bogus demands of a single individual, they put the needs and interests of all on a back burner." (14/x)
"When they determine that books representing historically marginalized identities are inappropriate, they send students and families a disturbing message about whose stories matter. When state legislators enable and support these actions, they are complicit." (15/x)
"The point is not whether one can get a book that has been prohibited in a school at the local library or purchase it on Amazon; it’s about whether someone’s ready access to ideas has been denied or diminished in a public institution and why." (16/x) #Censorship #BannedBooks
"Alarm over threats to #freespeech is, rightly, sounded not only at the most severe prohibitions, but also at infringements that might have a broader chilling effect.. As the court noted in Counts v. Cedarville, 'The loss of #FirstAmendment rights, even minimally, is injurious.'"
"In a democracy, liberty and free speech require robust protection in the face of cultural and political censors. Protecting students’ freedom to read must be no different," writes @jonfreadom. (18/x)
"In the face of a growing movement to censor public education, it’s essential that we sound the alarm over book banning in its most insidious forms, especially those propelled by hate and ignorance." (19/x) #BannedBooks #FreedomToRead
From #MomsForLiberty to school districts to @RonDeSantis, "it turns out nobody wants to be known as a book banner... (but) if people don’t want to be known as book banners, there’s a simple solution," writes @jonfreadom. "Stop trying to ban books." (20/20)…

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More from @PENamerica

Jun 14
Attacking books as “pornography” has become a common tactic for book banners from Ron DeSantis to #Moms4Liberty.

Now a new version of the famous Holocaust diary is being called ‘Anne Frank pornography’ and getting banned from schools, writes @AndrewLapin.…
Published in 2017 with the endorsement of the Basel-based Anne Frank Foundation, the illustrated Anne Frank's Diary was "a bid to preserve interest in the Holocaust by future generations," reported
@JewishJournal.… (2/x) #History #BannedBooks Image
Describing why he authored the book during a Q&A in Paris, writer Ari Folman, who was born to Holocaust survivors, said, “I’m worried we’re coming to an era where there won’t be Holocaust survivors on Earth, no living witnesses to tell the story." #History #BannedBooks (3/x)
Read 9 tweets
Jun 14
As more schools target ‘Maus,’ Art Spiegelman’s fears are deepening, reports @ThePlumLineGS

Read free: #BannedBooks #Censorship 🧵
As they target 'pornography' or 'woke indoctrination,' "Right-wing culture warriors pushing restrictions on classroom instruction sometimes defend these measures by insisting... they avoid targeting historically or intellectually significant material," writes @ThePlumLineGS (2/x)
"A new fracas involving a school board in Missouri will test this premise... it indicates that those seeking to censor books seem oddly unconstrained by the principle that they are supposed to avoid restricting important, challenging historical material." #Maus #BannedBooks (3/x)
Read 13 tweets
Jun 10
This week, PEN America’s @jeremycyoung joined @madintangibles on the @TrendingInEd podcast for a conversation about the unprecedented assaults on the New College of Florida and what we all can do about it.
Listen to the full podcast here:…
“‘This fight matters even if you lose.’ That’s how @jeremycyoung of PEN America, a national organization that promotes freedom of speech, publication and thought, concluded an inspiring message to a recent gathering of professors at @NewCollegeofFL.”…
Read 4 tweets
Jun 9
PEN America: White House Announcement of Anti-Book Ban Coordinator Treats Crisis with Deserved Seriousness…
(2/x) In response to President Biden’s announcement that he will appoint an anti-book ban coordinator, PEN America’s Washington Managing Director Nadine Farid Johnson issued the following statement: “The growing movement to ban books—especially books focused on the experiences...
".... of people of color and the LGBTQ+ community—represents a threat not just to the rights enshrined in the First Amendment, but to the well-being of students, who deserve to see themselves represented in works of literature and nonfiction...." (3/x)
Read 5 tweets
May 29
"The parent... (said) she 'is not for eliminating or censoring any books' while saying that Gorman’s book and several others*... shouldn’t be available to students at all. We’d bring up George Orwell... but then people might want to ban his work as well."…
*The other books challenged along with The Hill We Climb by @TheAmandaGorman were:

“Countries in the News: Cuba” by Kieran Walsh
“Cuban Kids” by George Ancona
“Love to Langston” by @PoetTonyMedina
“The ABCs of Black History” by @OhReallyRio
"Love to Langston (by @PoetTonyMedina) is a tribute to the life of one of America’s greatest literary figures... His books and his poems are central to the American literary canon," writes @bumpyjonasdc… #BannedBooks #Censorship
Read 5 tweets
May 26
"How do 11 people think they have the right to tell all students what they are allowed to read?" asks @JoyAnnReid.

ICYMI: An analysis by The Washington Post found that "a majority of book challenges can be attributed to a very small number of people—11 to be exact."

These repeat challengers are often assisted by conservative book banning groups like Moms for Liberty.…
PEN America's April 2023 #BannedInTheUSA report documented "an escalation of book bans and censorship in classrooms and school libraries across the United States," with book bans most prevalent in Texas, Florida, Missouri, Utah, and South Carolina.

➡️… Image
Read 5 tweets

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