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The Stampede

West Ada Sparks Debates Over Book Banning Within the District

In a move that has ignited a huge debate within the West Ada School District, officials have recently proposed a ban on ten books from the libraries, addressing people’s concerns related to themes surrounding homosexuality, mental health and issues that don’t align with the West Ada School District Program philosophy or the selection criteria of learning resources.” 

Senior Mikayla Herrara reads “The Handmaid’s Tale”, a book that is frequently banned in schools. Books like “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “The Catcher in the Rye” are often at risk for becoming banned as well. (Annie Ward)

The decision has stirred up emotions among librarians, teachers and students throughout the district, with many expressing their discontent and frustration over the restrictions placed on literary content. 

The controversy came to the forefront when ten books were pulled from West Ada libraries. This issue sparked outrage amongst those who advocate for intellectual freedom and diversity in literature. 

“Milk and Honey” by Rupi Kaur was one of the ten books removed from the schools libraries  The book is known for its exploration of sensitive topics such as mental health, sexuality and personal identity, in the form of poetry. It has faced criticism, prompting the West Ada School District to take action. 

“The Handmaid’s Tale: The Graphic Novel” by Margaret Atwood and adapted by Renee Nault was another book that the district categorized as unsuitable for school libraries. Individuals in the community were especially upset about this, as the story is gaining popularity because of the Hulu original show produced.  

While the ban on books was met with negative responses, the district may be on the path to further restrictions, targeting books that they deem “inappropriate for minors”. Librarians, who are on the front lines of this literary dispute, have expressed their concerns about the potential impact on students’ access to diverse perspectives and the suppression of important discussions around inclusion and acceptance. 

Teachers and educators within the district are also expressing their disapproval, emphasizing the role literature plays in critical thinking and encouraging students to explore opinions. Critics argue that banning books limits student exposure to diverse ideas and decreases their ability to engage in open dialogue on important world issues. 

“Small groups should not make such large decisions for the whole,” said teacher Laurie Hobbs.  “Parents and students may need to be more proactive in fighting back against the ban.  If ample and justifiable reasons are not given by the district for the removal of certain books, perhaps there should be more meetings held until mutual agreement is achieved.” 

The decision has not gone unnoticed by students, who are voicing their opposition to the book bans. Many argue that such restrictions infringe upon their right to access a variety of perspectives and shape their own understanding of the world.  

“It makes me super upset that [Westada] is banning books from our libraries,” said sophomore Meri Roda-Martinez. “ I think it limits the possibility for students’ ideas.” 

As the controversy continues to unfold, community members are divided on the issue. Some support the district’s decision, stating that the issues minors read about should be monitored, as they believe adults should be in control of what adolescents are exposed to.  

Many others argue for the importance of maintaining a diverse and inclusive library collection that reflects the realities potentially faced by students today. 

However, West Ada is not the only school district moving to ban books. Schools all over the country are removing books that individuals may find offensive or controversial.  

Columbia University reported there was, “a record-breaking number of attempts to ban books in 2022— up 38 percent from the previous year.” 

The petition to ban books with “mature themes” raises important questions around the country about the balance between protecting sensitive topics and preserving student freedoms. As the West Ada community and readers grapple with these issues, the debate is sure to persist, shedding light on the ongoing struggle between censorship and the fundamental right to access diverse and challenging ideas within public schools. 

 

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About the Contributors
Grace Merrill, Copy Editor
Hi! My name is Grace Merrill, and I'm a sophomore here at Eagle. This is my first year on the Stampede News and I work with some of my favorite people as a copy editor! I love spending time outside, especially with my animals and family. I'm super excited to work with the Stampede News this year!
Annie Ward, Photographer
My name is Annie Ward, and I am a photographer for my first (and last) year of Newspaper. I am a senior and I look forward to taking pictures and writing articles for The Stampede. I run track and cross country, and my favorite events are the 800m and the mile. I love to bake, bike, shop, listen to music (a lot of old Taylor Swift), and recently I have started playing the ukulele.
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  • J

    JacksonMar 1, 2024 at 11:52 am

    Book bans are stupid. If you don’t want your kid reading something, don’t let them. But one parent complaining should not be used to justify banning it for everyone. Not to mention the cases where the kids being blocked from reading a certain book are the ones who need it most

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