High School Students\u27 Perceptions of Banned Books

Abstract

This research study consisted of interviews with twelve students ages 14-18 at a Northeastern Ohio high school to determine their opinions regarding banned books and content restrictions in schools. With book bans increasing and becoming a divisive topic, many adult figures such as parents, politicians, educators, and school administrators have made their opinions known, but student perspectives are often disregarded. This study seeks to further the research on opinions of book bans by extending these questions to students to fill this gap in research and gain deeper insight into the perception of high school students in regard to school curriculum. There is a long withstanding history of literature restrictions in the United States, and it has continued today with many figures challenging texts utilized in the education system. Currently, the Board of Education, parents, and educators have the greatest control over the school curriculum, but students want to make their voices heard and be given the opportunity to impact their own education. These figures often speak for the students and make decisions without their input, leading to topics such as those relating to diversity, violence, sexual content, and profane language being frequently restricted. However, through these interviews, it has been found that most students have no issue with this subject matter, and the adults creating the curriculum have eliminated this content based on the false pretense that it will negatively impact adolescents. These students are old enough to speak for themselves, and they want to make their views known so that they can have control and exert influence over their own education to ensure that they have a positive, beneficial school experience with valuable literature

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This paper was published in The University of Akron.

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