Fortunately, there have been a number of publicized challenges in the last decade, which has made it slightly better for these groups to get an idea of which titles are under fire most frequently. This also makes it possible to hold Schools and other institutions accountable for following proper procedures, something which has been ignored in a number of recent challenges. I will cover these later in the post.
An article in USA Today, by Didi Tang and Mary Beth Marklein, takes these issues into consideration and discusses the increase in groups, as opposed to individuals, who are responsible for book challenges today.
Whereas challenges once were mostly launched by a lone parent, Caldwell-Stone says she has noticed "an uptick in organized efforts" to remove books from public and school libraries. A number of challenges appear to draw from information provided on websites such as Parents Against Bad Books in Schools, or PABBIS.org, and Safelibraries.org, [Deborah Caldwell-Stone, and attorney with the American Library Association] says.This can be seen throughout a number of my posts over the last month or so. A few complaints have been made by one or two parents, but a number have come from larger organizations as well. These groups have more clout than an individual and are therefore able to put more pressure on schools and libraries to remove texts. The problem here is that a lot of these School Districts and Libraries do not want to be publicly denounced and so they attempt to quietly remove the books without following proper procedure. The article from USA Today points out three instances:
• In Plano, Texas, last month, the school district collected a textbook, Culture and Values: A Survey of the Humanities, from classrooms after a parent voiced concern, then reissued the book after former students launched a social-media campaign to object. "This decision was made behind closed doors without discussion," says Ashley Meyers, 22, a 2006 graduate who had used the book.
• After the school board in Stockton, Mo., voted in April to ban The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, English teachers who assign the book said they should have been consulted about its educational value. "We expected a more thorough, well-developed process before a book was banned," English teacher Kim Chism Jasper said during a public forum in September.
These controversial instances of book challenges make it possible for anti-censorship groups to track such cases. It is necessary to see evidence of these challenges, otherwise people won't realize how prevalent it really is. This follows the whole purpose of my blog, to bring attention to challenges and censorship issues relating to books in the hope of enlightening people to the fact that this isn't a thing of the past.• A chapter of Glenn Beck's 9.12 Project, a conservative watchdog network, was a force behind the removal of Revolutionary Voices: A Multicultural Queer Youth Anthology from the school library at Rancocas Valley Regional High School in Burlington County, N.J. The ACLU of New Jersey requested documentation from school officials regarding how the decision was made.
Book banning still happens, and censoring of valuable literature is still a problem.