EDITORIAL: Freedom turns to ashes when books are burned | Editorial

The Spotsylvania County School Board has sparked a storm of controversy – figuratively, not yet literally – with its decision to ban sexually explicit books from school libraries.

In response to a parent’s complaint, the board voted 6-0 on Monday to order school staff to remove books containing sexually explicit material. The book ban is pretty inflammatory in itself, but board members Rabih Abuismail and Kirk Twigg have fanned the flames by suggesting that the banned books be burned.

You might not be shocked when outrage sparks outrageous comments, but it is appalling that anyone in charge of raising children even suggests such a thing.

It is not unreasonable to ensure that school library books are age appropriate for the students served by that library. But it’s unreasonable – and un-American – to start stripping the shelves without first defining what is “explicit,” what is appropriate, and who decides whether a book fits the definition. What one parent finds objectionable, another cannot.

The Bible contains passages dealing with sex, not to mention murder and torture. Should the Bible be banned? What about other books dealing with murder and torture? If books with explicit sex encourage sexual behavior, do we assume that books that deal with violence encourage murder?

Schools serve to educate children and prepare the next generation of citizens to advance our society. What do we teach students by banning books and threatening to burn them? Is this the American ideal that we want them to embrace?

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