Daniela Cortez: Strides to ban books in schools limit freedom
Daniela Cortez is a senior at El Rancho High School and co-editor of the school newspaper. This piece appeared in the Los Angeles Times High School Insider section. In this op-ed, she objects to the growing movement to ban books.
Is this what America has come to? Banning books because it does not fit the personal views of parents or politicians?
A country where people care more about banning books than banning guns that as a result have killed hundreds of students. Where people demand the right to bear arms and urge to have the Second Amendment be followed but not the First Amendment.
The act of so many states banning books threatens our rights as individuals to the freedom of expression, which harms our First Amendment rights.
Within the 2021-2022 school year, more than 5,000 schools throughout 32 states have banned books. Even though this has been going on throughout history, it has been occurring more than ever at such a high-speed rate within the past year.
The state legislators are hand-picking which books should be banned as they want to censor the literature that pertains to important topics such as LGBTQ, people of color, mental health issues, religious themes, and stories regarding individuals with disabilities.
Already these groups are at a disadvantage in representation and to the ban books that spread some sort of awareness is damaging. The authors writing the literature are meant to express themselves and as the reader, to read that literature is meant to help us as individuals be conscious of the world around us.
She addresses some of the specific books and schools involved, then continues:
To suppress this from students, what does that accomplish? Well, it creates a world where the students are not exposed to the diverse ideas of the world and become unaccepting of those who are not like them. Those students are our future and suppressing them from learning about those ideas can be harmful to our future society — limited access creates limited views.
This pushes back all the progress in our rights. All the struggles of the people that came before us fought to have the right to freedom of expression. The state legislators banning the books in states like Texas and Florida do not care for those strides or rights.