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ERIC Number: EJ772749
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005
Pages: 6
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-1066-2847
Books under Fire
Durbin, Kathie
Teaching Tolerance, n27 p46-51 Spr 2005
Notwithstanding the First Amendment, book banning is a practice rooted in American history. In 1873, Congress passed the Comstock Law in an effort to legislate public morality. Though rarely enforced, the act remains on the books. A survey by the National School Boards Association found that one-third of challenges to school reading materials in the 1990s resulted in the withdrawal or restriction of those materials. The reasons people try to censor or restrict access have not changed all that much over time. Books are most often attacked for being "age-inappropriate" in their use of sexually explicit or racially charged language or for expressing unorthodox political, religious or cultural views. Some challenges are brought by individual parents, others by religious right groups that target books they regard as anti-Christian. Whatever the motive, efforts to restrict access to books deemed objectionable can polarize communities, leaving deep wounds. Classroom teachers often find themselves on the front line in these battles, yet without any real power to defend their choices or to affect the outcome--an uncomfortable place to be.
Southern Poverty Law Center. 400 Washington Avenue, Montgomery, AL 36104. Tel: 334-956-8200; Fax: 334-956-8484; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United States
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: First Amendment