ACLU, Kitzmiller and Banned Books Week
A great irony was lost on me until today. I just learned that the Kitzmiller v. Dover trial opened during Bannned Books Week, which is sponsored by the American Library Association. There is an article on Banned Books Week in yesterday's Washington Post. The ACLU is helping to represent the plaintiffs in Kitzmiller, and its Complaint asks that the judge issue an injunction banning the book Of Pandas and People from science classrooms, even though it is there as an optional reference book for students and is not to be used as part of any classroom teaching. (See p. 23) Thus the ACLU celebrated Banned Books Week this year in a very special and meaningful way.
It is not Banned Speech Week (as far as I know), but the ACLU is also seeking to ban a one minute statement by a school administrator once each year in biology classes. The statement contains a 15 second segment telling students that the Pandas book exists and inviting them to read it if they are interested, on their own time, and on a purely voluntary basis. The Dover school board policy makes clear that intelligent design is not to be taught during science class.
In case you were not aware, the ACLU used to be in favor of free speech and against banning books.
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The ACLU might also profit from this information from the ALA web site:
What Is Intellectual Freedom?
Intellectual freedom is the right of every individual to both seek and receive information from all points of view without restriction. It provides for free access to all expressions of ideas through which any and all sides of a question, cause or movement may be explored.
Censorship is the suppression of ideas and information that certain persons—individuals, groups or government officials—find objectionable or dangerous. It is no more complicated than someone saying, “Don’t let anyone read this book, or buy that magazine, or view that film, because I object to it! ” Censors try to use the power of the state to impose their view of what is truthful and appropriate, or offensive and objectionable, on everyone else. Censors pressure public institutions, like libraries, to suppress and remove from public access information they judge inappropriate or dangerous, so that no one else has the chance to read or view the material and make up their own minds about it. The censor wants to prejudge materials for everyone.