The List

Having the opportunity to voice one’s opinions is rewarding. However, this can lead to more harm than good. Highland Park ISD’s decision to suspend several books due to controversial material covering topics such as sex and abortion.

The media has transformed the issues that were shrouded in a mysterious veil of assumptions and false-pretenses of conservative America into humor and entertainment. The major starting point was in animation, because killing a person, gore and all, was more palatable than the use of fake props. The ever popular The Simpsons is a prime example of this. The show has become so popular that it is the longest-running American sitcom, longest-running American animated program, surpassed Gunsmoke as the longest-running American scripted prime-time television series in 2009, and the airing of the 26th season began September 28 of this year. The show is known for its obscenity; Homer strangling Bart, the bloody separation of bodily appendages, and gun violence among many others. Despite watching the show as early as elementary, I’m confident to say I have turned out to be an upstanding citizen and am proud to serve as a role model for younger generations.

Many Americans have been exposed to the world of video gaming, more specifically the violent end of the industry. Teens spend hour upon hour shredding, slicing, decapitating, incinerating, punching, electrocuting, and generally obliterating a wide plethora of digital things. While there is nothing directly wrong with this practice, the gaming community has gone through obstacles surrounding the protection of the younger members. To meet the demands of censorship, games now commonly have profanity filters (that depending on the developer can be turned off at the users discretion).

While protecting the children is admirable, high schoolers should not be coddled about “hardships and controversies of adulthood” they will be most likely sent off to college within four years, not much time to expose them to the grit of the real world. For instance, Shipler’s memoir of an alcoholic father and eventual homeless mother, is a real eye-opener for kids with wireless Beats headphones and with the Vera Bradley handbag that doesn’t match her purse and backpack. The story recounts her and her siblings struggle in a dysfunctional home. However, it isn’t limited to her unfortunate childhood, but her eventual success in society as a writer, editor, and journalist.

There are dozens of quality films that have been produced throughout cinematic history. Any one of those movies would be more beneficial to high schoolers than the newest Transformers series of movies Americans gorge themselves on.

However, I would have to agree with the decision of Highland Park ISD. The parents advocating the ban of these books could react in a number of ways if it had decided otherwise, but probably the most severe would include the departure from the district’s schools, crippling thousands of dollars from the loss of students. On the other side, the parents that don’t mind the reading of these books in English class will, if they have not already exposed them to literature that discusses these topics. And the risk is too great for the ISD to take.

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