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Censorship in Classrooms

January 06, 1991

Why do you not notice the inconsistency when your editorial writer whines yet again about censorship? Is it really "a chilling incident" when one book is removed from a classroom? Then why are you not screaming on a daily basis?

The vast majority of the children in K-8 classes in California do not have books available to remove. A policy consistent from district to district denies not only books, but the libraries to house them and the libraries to incorporate them into the lives of both teachers and children.

In 49 other states, regional accreditation standards or state law mandate varying levels of school library services. Only California does neither.

Censorship comes in many forms. But it has a hollow ring to complain about the treatment of one book when year after year most children are denied most books.

I was just given $1,000 to spend at my high school library because review of state law indicates that the library needs to provide more "primary language" materials. These are books in Spanish and Korean (our two largest minorities) for "limited English proficient" students to read. Meanwhile, year after year, my budget is cut for the purchase of books in English, the primary language of the majority. No law mandates a review of services to them.

I have never had a single parent complain about a book in a collection that numbers 40,000. I have had district and school administrators object to magazines such as Ms., Paris Review, Elle, Thrasher and books on AIDS, homosexuality, race and art. The children and their parents are far wiser in these decisions than the Nervous Nellies who run our schools.

RICHARD K. MOORE, Torrance

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