The Evils of Children Reading

Conservatives know the danger of Children getting cozy with books. They're full of all sorts of varied ideas and divergent viewpoints. They promote critical thinking and fact based analysis. That's why when children find a book that they like to read, it's best to do everything you can to take that book away. Reading should always be drudgery, something unpleasant assigned by teachers. That way children will be less likely to read books (and even newspapers) later in life - making them much more pliable sheeple.

Via the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

In Harry Potter's world, the Ministry of Magic governs things. In Georgia, the state Board of Education rules over public schools.

These two worlds come together Tuesday when the state board has a public hearing on a parent's request to remove the popular series from Gwinnett County public school libraries. The hearing officer presiding over the appeal will make a recommendation to the state board, which is scheduled to rule on the case during its December meeting.

The Harry Potter books are among the most popular in children's literature. Six of the seven books planned in the series have been published. The seventh is expected to provide some resolution for Harry Potter.
Mind you the effort is not to prevent the book from being read in the classroom or used as assigned reading for students. The Board of Education is deciding whether the most popular children's book in history should be given a spot on school library shelves.
• Harry Potter and the Loganville mother: Laura Mallory, a Loganville parent, challenges the books in September 2005, saying the stories promote and glorify witchcraft. She wants the books removed from her children's school, J.C. Magill Elementary, and all Gwinnett public school libraries.

• Harry Potter and the Magill panel: A Magill Elementary review panel says the books have merit and should be available to children. The panel is comprised of parents, community members and school staff members. Mallory appeals the decision to the district.

• Harry Potter and the Gwinnett panel: A district-wide media panel reviews the books and says the books should stay in school libraries. Mallory appeals to the Gwinnett County school board.

• Harry Potter and the hearing of the ban: In April, the school board conducts a hearing on the issue. Mallory and her supporters say the books need to go because the stories are dark, violent and inappropriate for children. The school system and Potter fans defend the books as modern literature.

• Harry Potter and the officer's report: The school board's hearing officer strongly recommends the books stay. She says removing them would open the school system to ridicule.

• Harry Potter and the order of the school board: The Gwinnett school board in May unanimously rules in favor of the books. Board members say they have merit because they promote reading and improve students' literacy skills. Mallory appeals to the state Board of Education.

• Harry Potter and the state of Georgia: The state board hearing officer will listen to oral arguments related to the appeal at 10 a.m. Tuesday in the Education Department's executive board room, Suite 2070, Twin Towers East, Atlanta. The hearing, which should last about an hour, is open to the public, though the public cannot comment. Who knows how this battle will end?
Sounds like sanity has won out at every stage. No wonder Laura Mallory is so furious.

Has Laura read Grimm's Fairy Tales? Those stories have witchcraft, violence and dark themes far in excess of anything J.K. Rowling has put to paper. Is Shakespeare in school libraries? That guy had his share of violence, witchcraft, suicide, dark themes and - gasp!- sex. Maybe he should be taken out too.

If a parent doesn't want his or her child to read Harry Potter, it's their responsibility to tell their child not to read the book. It doesn't promote sex or drug use. Any arguements about Harry Potter's depiction of violence could be equally applied to any number of children's stories and/or books read by children with a reading ability advanced enough to actually read the Harry Potter stories.

All that leaves is the arguement that Harry Potter is anti-Christian. Whether it is or isn't is beside the point. Books should not be removed from public school libraries because they contain ideas that certain people find blasphemous.

My hope is that the Georgia Board of Education will see that at every step Laura Mallory's position has been found to be without merit and tell her to go find something of real importance to worry about.

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