Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Banned Books Week: A Story Close to Home

I'm not actually participating in Banned Books Week but I do have a story that goes with it that happened to me quite recently.

The school I go to is extremely disturbingly small! I mean there are only like five seniors, including me and we don't even have a library (disgaceful)! So when a bunch of us got together to start up a school newspaper I immedietly knew i wanted to man the book reviews! I was so excited and being that I had just read Hate List by Jennifer Brown and also that it delt with a lot of school related issues and ultimately had an inspiring lesson, I decided to review that book. All of my friends were really excited to see what I would say about the book because it looked really interesting but then the tornado hit. And his name was Mr. A our school principle(ugh!!)!

Before the copies were printed we had to send the proofs to Mr. A to be read and looked over. Everyone was super excited and beyond proud. Not only did we put together and write everything ourselves but we also spent a ton of time on making it the best it could be. Mr. A sent the proofs back by the next morning and we were CRUSHED to find out that he was literaly taking out at least half of our original content. Everything creative thet we made up ourselves got switched out for boring lectures about Merits and Locker Rules and blah blah blah! With that stuff he also edited out my book review for Hate List deeming it innappropriate and controversial! Can you believe it!!! The book was "supposedly" on the banned books list for our school district which ment I could not add it to the school newspaper and no one could see my review:(

So that is my Banned Books Week story and i hope we take from it a lesson about open-mindness and the power of a couple of ignorant, relentless bastards!

Yours Truly,
Christina

13 comments:

  1. Oh ick. It really irks me when administrators stifle creativity in students. So what happened? Did you stand up to him? And your district actually has a banned books list? Where do you live??? I've never heard of that! Note to you: transfer to a bigger school!

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  2. Oh hun, that is so mean of him! That is really rude that they would do that even after you spent so much time and effort! School policy sucks. Hopefully you can put more of your book reviews in the paper! Best of luck to you and your fellow peers.

    -Arielle

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  3. Well, I must say I'm sorry that your hard work was tossed away. But I can tell you that I'm so honored that A) you read my book, B) you "got" my message, C) you passed on my message, and D) you were outraged when you weren't allowed to do so.

    You have a fan right here, that much is for sure!

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  4. Kudos to you and your friends for creating a school newspaper! Very sorry to hear about your creativity being stinted. I'm amazed at the amount of books being banned from schools for controversial content. Ugh! Keep reading and spreading the word, my dear.

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  5. I am so sorry to hear this-- but proud of you and your fellow students for (a) starting a paper and (b) being willing to post that you are being 'edited' in this way. I've read THE HATE LIST and my reaction was that it should be widely available and widely read for exactly the reasons you list: a strong school setting and a meaningful, important, and inspiring lesson. I find your principal's refusal to allow you to share your thoughts with fellow students disheartening, but applaud your strength in sharing his response.

    Stay strong and keep writing-- and will you be posting your review here?

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  6. 'zine it. take all of the censored content, slap it into a small, cheaply-printed, stapled-together chapbook, put an explanation on the cover about how this is everything editted out of the original newspaper, and that this is being produced independently, with no additional connection to the school, and hand it around underground, off school grounds.

    And, uh, hope that they don't decide to try denying you your diploma.

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  7. better yet: just put it all up on the internet. the link will spread on its own.

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  8. You do good work, Christina. Be outraged, and keep working for what you believe is right.

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  9. Hate List is a poweful, skillfully written book that I just reviewed for School Library Journal as an outstanding new addition to teen literature. The teens at my library really like it too. Maybe if more teens were encouraged to read and talk about Hate List and lots of other books that are deemed by some as "controversial" (but well written with very important points) we wouldn't have as many problems as we do today in our high schools. I wonder if your school principal actually read the book itself. I would be willing to bet he didn't--that he just saw the title and subject and gasped!

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  10. I am sorry this happened to you -- it sounds like the principal was excessively concerned about covering his backside, for some reason. Or excessively enamored of feeling in control at all costs.

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  11. I came across your story through another blog post on Banned Books Week. So sorry to hear that your reviews were censored! When I worked on my high school paper, I wrote a few things that weren't meant to stir up trouble AT ALL and were still somehow questioned by the school principal. Example: I couldn't use the word "tampon" in one of my articles. Can you believe it?! I like the idea someone else had for you to make a zine!

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  12. That's ridiculous. Book banning makes me so angry. The Hate List sounds like a really amazing book; it's on my to-read list.
    Good luck in the future. :/

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  13. It's really bad to see our own works get banned. Good luck next time!

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