Pennsylvania School District Overturns Book Ban


Ben Hodge

Students protesting a book ban in their school district

Portia Yeboah

A southern Pennsylvania school district has reversed its ban on anti-racism resources. Banning books can be defined as a request to or the active action of removing books/information from a classroom, library, or school curriculum. This would mean burning books, recalling books, or prohibiting people from having access to books on specific topics is a form of censorship. 

Last October, a unanimous decision, made by the all-white school board in the Central York school district, banned books deemed “controversial” because of topics such as police brutality, racial injustice, LGBTQ+ peoples, sexual content, and content that goes against religious (usually Christian) ideals. Many of the books banned were written by authors of color and were covering topics surrounding anti-racism such as; Rosa Parks’ biographies, Malala Yousafzai’s autobiography, and CNN’s Sesame Street town hall on racism. They were “frozen” as the committee did a background check on them. However, this process took over a year. 

After receiving backlash and protests from students, the ban in this district was lifted on the educational anti-racism books. Students held an intense virtual meeting about the authors of color that had become prohibited from the school’s curriculum. Effective immediately, the Central York school district has fully reversed the bans made last October.

The US has a history of challenging and banning books deemed ”inappropriate” for school. Including, but not limited to:

  • To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
  • The Catcher in the Rye, by JD Salinger
  • The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
  • The Lord of the Flies, by William Golding
  • 1984, by George Orwell
  • All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely
  • The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
  • The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Many book bans are currently in place in other parts of the country. Literature is meant to be shared and discussed. Censorship does nothing but block worlds of thought critical to expanding arguments and one’s perspective. The students of York used their voices to call out the wrong in their education system. This generation is much more open-minded and hopefully, that continues as they replace those in current positions of power to make our education systems more inclusive and progressive.