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The Coyote Caller

The Coyote Caller

The Coyote Caller

Photo Gallery: Soccer vs. Northwest, May 9, 2024
Photo Gallery: Soccer vs. Northwest, May 9, 2024
Scott Hoskins, Journalism Adviser/Photographer • Published May 13, 2024
Photo Gallery: Soccer vs. Northwest, May 9, 2024
Photo Gallery: Soccer vs. Northwest, May 9, 2024
Scott Hoskins, Journalism Adviser/Photographer • Published May 13, 2024
Photo Gallery: JROTC @Daytona Beach Drill World Championships
Photo Gallery: JROTC @Daytona Beach Drill World Championships
Gisely Argueta, Phototgrapher • Published May 8, 2024
Exam schedule posted
Exam schedule posted
Staff ReportPublished May 8, 2024
Laptop collection day set for Thursday, May 16
Laptop collection day set for Thursday, May 16
Staff ReportPublished May 6, 2024

We must confront book challenges

This week is Banned Books Week
We+must+confront+book+challenges

This editorial does not reflect the official opinion of West Creek High School’s administration or staff or the Clarksville-Montgomery County School System.

The week of October 1 through October 7 has been designated as Banned Books Week in the United States. While Banned Books Week used to be a misnomer because most books on the list were challenged not banned, in today’s political climate, books are increasingly being challenged and banned. We are reaching a critical time in our ability to read what we choose and not let anyone else tell us what we can’t read.

The number of challenges per year since 2003 illustrates this. In 2003, only 305 unique titles were challenged. Until 2020, this number remained steady. Suddenly, in 2022, the number of unique titles soared to 2,571.

Sadly, only a small number of people are responsible for most of the challenges. We are allowing a vastly vocal minority to determine which books students can read. This includes our own school district. A number of titles are currently under “district review” and have been removed from library shelves while under review. This goes against the district’s own policy for challenged books. Worse, the challengers haven’t even read the books they’re challenging; they’re just repeating what the radical right group Moms for Liberty is telling them.

Before 2020, the largest number of people who initiated challenges were single parents who wanted to restrict access to a book their child was reading. Now, however, by last year, “90% of reported book challenges were demands to censor multiple titles – and of those demands to censor library books, 40% sought to remove or restrict more than 100 books all at once.”

This is what’s happening in CMCSS. One parent and who school board member are attempting to hijack students’ freedom to read.

Of course, the majority of challenged books were written by or were about members of the LGBTQIA+ community or by and about Black authors, Indigenous people and people of color (BIPOC). This is nothing short of a travesty. There is already a wide discrepancy between books with White characters and those with BIPOC characters. When books are removed from libraries, the very people who would benefit from seeing themselves in books are deprived of that opportunity.

The following list of top challenged titles in 2022 illustrates this travesty:
1. Gender Queer: A Memoir by Maia Kobabe. Number of challenges: 151. Challenged for: LGBTQIA+ content, claimed to be sexually explicit.
2. All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson. Number of challenges: 86. Challenged for: LGBTQIA+ content, claimed to be sexually explicit.
3. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison. Number of challenges: 73. Challenged for: depiction of sexual abuse, EDI content, claimed to be sexually explicit.
4. Flamer by Mike Curato. Number of challenges: 62. Challenged for: LGBTQIA+ content, claimed to be sexually explicit.
5. (tie) Looking for Alaska by John Green. Number of challenges: 55. Challenged for: LGBTQIA+ content, claimed to be sexually explicit.
5. (tie) The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. Number of challenges: 55. Challenged for: depiction of sexual abuse, LGBTQIA+ content, drug use, profanity, claimed to be sexually explicit.
6. Lawn Boy by Jonathan Evison. Number of challenges: 54. Challenged for: LGBTQIA+ content, claimed to be sexually explicit.
7. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie. Number of challenges: 52. Challenged for: profanity, claimed to be sexually explicit.
8. Out of Darkness by Ashley Hope Perez. Number of challenges: 50. Challenged for: depictions of abuse, claimed to be sexually explicit.
9. (tie) A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas. Number of challenges: 48. Challenged for: claimed to be sexually explicit.
9. (tie) Crank by Ellen Hopkins. Number of challenges: 48. Challenged for: drug use, claimed to be sexually explicit.
9. (tie) Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews. Number of challenges: 48. Challenged for: profanity, claimed to be sexually explicit.
9. (tie) This Book Is Gay by Juno Dawson. Number of challenges: 48. Challenged for: LGBTQIA+ content, providing sexual education, claimed to be sexually explicit.

Out of the 13 titles on this list, more than half were challenged for LBGTQIA+ content, and all of them were challenged for sexual content. The West Creek school library owns 10 of the 13, but students are no longer allowed to read these books while they are under review.

We as a school and community must stop surrendering our rights to a vocal minority. The West Creek library still contains many books that have been challenged across the United States. Come check one out and read it. Don’t let anyone tell you what you can’t read.

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