Parental Censorship Hinders Learning

Sex, Drugs, and Violence. With Rock n’ Roll no longer so popular, these three can be called the new unholy trinity. They’re all things that many parents aren’t fond of, especially when their kid is seeing them in the classroom. There’s always a power struggle between parents and teachers. Parents want to impart all of their beliefs on their kids and protect them at all costs. Meanwhile, teachers are usually just interested in teaching their lessons without any issues. Time and time again, schools will come under fire for “inappropriate” content in the classroom. But should the opinion of one student’s guardian actually be taken into account when deciding on the curriculum? Is this supposedly raunchy material negatively affecting kids? The answer is no.

Parental censorship is mainly present in younger classrooms. Adults will complain about sex, drugs, violence, or profanity being shown or discussed with children. This is difficult because most parents do not want their kids to be exposed to things the kids aren’t ready for. That said, every parent has a different idea of what is too mature for their child. Furthermore, every kid may have a different threshold when it comes to sexuality or other adult concepts.

Every parent has a different idea of what is too mature for their child.

Adults can be very concerned when it comes to things like drugs or violence being discussed in a school environment. Parents will often complain about Drug Ed courses, saying it encourages substance abuse. It can’t be stressed enough how important it is for kids to learn about these concepts. According to a 2012 National Survey on drug use and health by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, teens who learn about the risks of drugs from their parents are up to 50 percent less likely to use drugs. As long as the information comes from the proper source, teaching kids about drugs will prompt them to make smarter choices.

Parents often try to shield their kids by banning books. One famous example is In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak. In this whimsical picture book, young Mickey wanders through a kitchen in the evening and is baked into a cake. Many were outraged to see that Mickey is shown naked in several panels throughout the story. In 1977, the book was banned in two elementary schools in Illinois. It was challenged in court six more times in schools throughout the country, most recently in 2006. Fortunately, the court ruled in favor of the schools in all the cases. Parents on the school board in Minnesota stated that the book could “lay the foundation for future use of pornography.” This is probably one of the more ludicrous examples of censorship, one where a naked child is somehow seen as smut. Sexualizing children is wrong and enforces harmful ideas about the body being shameful. When kids are shielded from all sex and nudity, they may learn about it from more sinister sources, and develop warped ideas about sexuality.

Though there may be cases where the school curriculum crosses a line, in general, parental censorship only serves to impede children’s learning.

It’s natural to want to keep mature concepts away from young students, but this will only stunt kids’ growth. Learning about sex, drugs, and violence is crucial to becoming a well-adjusted adult. Without this knowledge, kids can develop dangerous misconceptions that harm them and those around them.

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