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Bob Jones students consider censorship during Banned Books Week

Media specialist Cindy Huskey believes she is doing her job if a book in the library offends every person who walks through the doors.

Huskey and fellow media specialist Shane Jones at Bob Jones High School led observance of Banned Books Week on Sept. 30 through Oct. 5.

Each day, Huskey tweeted a trivia question about banned books and gave a prize for the first correct answer. Oct. 1 was “I Eat Banned Books for Breakfast” day with classes voting for their favorite banned book.

On “Virtual Read” day, students created videos showing a person reading a banned book. Bob Jones students also recorded videos stylized like “Saturday Night Live” skits about censoring books.

Huskey follows two points from the Madison Board of Education about adding titles to library shelves:

* Materials support and are consistent with general educational goals of the district, school and curriculum.

* Materials are appropriate for subject area, age, emotional and social development and ability of students.

Banned Books Week originated in 1982 when the Island Trees Board of Education in Levittown, N.Y. voted to ban several books, including Kurt Vonnegut’s “Slaughterhouse Five.” Seventeen-year-old Steven Pico challenged the board’s decision. The case advanced to the Supreme Court, which ruled 5-4 in favor of Pico.

That same year, Banned Books Week was launched in response to a surge in the number of banned and challenged books, Huskey said.

During Banned Books Week, several students asked Huskey if she would ever ban a book. “My job is not to decide what is right or wrong. My role is to provide information to everyone, regardless of the point of view or ideology an author espouses,” Huskey said.

“Would you put ’50 Shades of Grey’ in the library?” another person asked.

“No, I wouldn’t for two reasons: the book is neither consistent with our educational goals nor appropriate for the emotional, social or educational development of our student body. The book is classified as erotica and, therefore, has no place in our collection,” Huskey said.

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