HomeOpinionOpinion: Educator shares views on books and book bans

Opinion: Educator shares views on books and book bans



Editor's Note: Rebecca Harper is an associate professor of language and literacy at Augusta University and the director of the Augusta University Writing Project.

Disclaimer - the views contained within this column are solely the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ...

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  1. 50 shades of gray for 7th graders? Apparently Isaac Asimov would approve, the author would have us believe. If you think that maybe that’s a bit too far, welcome to the world have having to decide where the line is. It’s a messy project, but the schools haven’t shown themselves wholly capable without a little supervision. I’ll keep harping on “the bluest eye” which everyone from the schools to AU and the Augusta Press seem intent on not calling attention to. It was available in CC middle and high schools until very recently and only removed after a lot of pushing from a few parents. That book treats pedophilia as “tender” and “innocent” including how the girls must have enjoyed being molested because they kept coming back (no, this isn’t hyperbolic, it’s on page 184). The municipal library doesn’t carry the book in the children’s/young adults section and presumably it’s also staffed by people that love books. The school can because they are protected from state obscenity laws that protect children while the local library isn’t. Georgia is one of 4 states that exempt schools from such obscenity laws.

    On another note, people can deeply love books and also disagree on what’s appropriate for schools to endorse as appropriate for various aged readers. Having no standards doesn’t equate to a moral high ground.

  2. “what author Jason Reynolds said”

    Is that the same Jason Reynolds that wrote a YA adaptation of Kendi’s “stamped” claiming racism was invented in Portugal in 1415 (that’s on page 5) racistly “proving” that only white people are racist?

    Probably not a great go-to author for advice. Schools shouldn’t be advocating for child molestation or racism, but that doesn’t seem to be clear to everyone in AU’s literature department.

  3. I cannot believe that AU has gotten so bad as to support “Employees” like Rebecca Harper spewing nonsence about allowing these trashy tasteless shameful books into Elementary and Middle Schools. I agree the authors should be allowed to write them, and Adults should be allowed to read them. But you allow children to read trash like that and you get grownups wearing 4 shades of hair color teaching young adults how to be trashy. Just my opinion!

  4. Thank you for writing this much-needed piece, Prof. Harper. It all scares me, too. Something is very wrong when parents would rather ban books than promote and maintain open dialogue with their children about the media they are consuming.

    There are many books written by people I vehemently disagree with and whose ideas about the world, I think, are toxic. But I would never advocate for banning those books.

  5. Also, a question for the editorial staff of the Augusta press: Why put that disclaimer on this opinion piece if not on your other guest columns? I just clicked through several other of your opinion pieces and do not see it on those. Seems pretty loud and clear how you feel about this particular column. Unfair editorial treatment.

    • I took over as managing editor in January and never understood why this wasn’t a policy of ours. I started putting the disclaimer on Michael Meyers column last week. Two of his columns have them, and so does Hubert Van Tuylls’s from Sunday.
      And it will be on columns going forward as other staff become accustomed to putting the disclaimer in.

  6. Thank you, Eric, for your comments. Most people will agree with you and Mr. Bible.
    I am so proud that a few brave parents are speaking up. This is a working town and
    the elite academics are taking advantage of people (like I was for the years raising
    our kids and working) who don’t have time to check on this. They would be appalled.

  7. With the miserably low amount of time, (and getting lower each passing year), that the average child/teen spends reading an actual book , I find the current anxiety over this issue strangely out of time & place, and more appropriate for the long ago era of the 80’s or 90’s.?
    Not “WHY”, but HOW is this even an issue?
    With the splendor of modern technology at every child’s fingertips having blazed a trail of unlimited access to any reading you care to name once considered, “to much for students”, how is this even an issue?
    Childish as it sounds, it smacks of an emergency conjured up to comfort the burden of adults rather than children.

    “Teenagers in the United States are spending vast amounts of their days using screens as a
    form of leisure and entertainment, according to a new report.
    Teens spend an average of seven hours and 22 minutes on their phones a day,
    and tweens — ages 8 to 12 — are not far behind,
    at four hours and 44 minutes daily, according to a new report by Common Sense Media,
    a nonprofit that promotes safe technology and media for children. “

  8. “Professor” Harper, just look at the Liberals and SJW’s coming out of the woodwork. This is a perfect example of what has happened to America today. We’re going to hell in a handbasket on an accelerating scale. It’s a throwback to the 60’s “If it feels good, do it.”
    Professor Harper, perhaps instead of reading in middle school, how to perform straight and homosexual acts (with pictures), just perhaps we should set up a class to demonstrate and perform those very acts. I think NOT! But if you say that’s not what you mean, you are lying to us and yourself. That’s the next step, as has been proved time and again. :Give an inch take a mile.” I’m sorry, but CHILDREN need boundaries, and it’s up to us as parents and teachers to provide and enforce them!
    Rant over.

  9. I read “To kill a Mockingbird” as a child and it provided much insight. The movie did also. Each time I read “To kill a Mockingbird” I gain additional insight. To compare that perceptive book to modern porn is ridiculous. Just because a book expresses a uncomfortable topics does not make it noteworthy. “I doubt if many third graders read fifty shades of Grey” . Exposing a child to violence, drug abuse, domestic violence, casually makes that child respond casually promoting a lack of empathy. Book banning is not the issue but promoting literature that enhances learning, critical thinking and empathy is key.

      • Eric, you are absolutely correct. The concerns raised by parents and residents has been around fact that obscene content as legally defined within the GA Obscenity law is in the media centers. One of several issues is that it is not age appropriate, the same books in school libraries are found in the adult section of the public libraries. There is no identification within the school libraries that it contains either obscene or adult content. This has been the case in all if the high schools and some of the middle schools.

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