No Banned Books in Fulton County; why?


Nikki Gomez, Staff Writer

In some states in the U.S, there are a list of books that students are banned from reading in their English classes. However, in Fulton County, there are no banned books. English teachers in Milton are able to assign any book, and there is no censorship from the county. Still, why are books “banned” in the first place?

Fulton County does not ban books to avoid conflict, and instead offers alternatives if a parent wishes for their child to not read the selected book. Principal Brian Jones says, “When you tell people they don’t have access to something, it creates some problems.”

Very often books are banned because they include profanity, drug and alcohol use, racism, violence and much more. Popular books that are commonly challenged include “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” “The Catcher in the Rye,” “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “Of Mice and Men.” Sometimes books that are considered problematic encourage more people to read it to see why it is considered “taboo.”

Often those books that are considered inappropriate and deemed “banned” are also canonical. At Milton, students will most likely read “Frankenstein,” “Brave New World,” “Fahrenheit 451,” “The Scarlet Letter” and  “The Crucible”which are banned in other countries of the world and some states in the U.S. The 10th Honors English classes are currently reading “Frankenstein” which was banned in 1955 in South Africa for its “objectionable and obscene” content.

In addition, High school students can access numerous books through their high school libraries. The county boards are responsible for choosing which books the libraries have, as well as removing them. School officials are not able to remove books they dislike, however they can remove it if the contents in the book are inappropriate for students to read and violate their policies. Katie Reeves, Board Member of District Two for Fulton County says, “selection, evaluation, and utilization of instructional materials at the local school are guided by Board Policy IFA-Instructional Media Program.”

When high school students are required to read a book for English class, the book may create issues among the parents and teachers. Last year, the 10th Honors English classes were about to begin reading “The Handmaid’s Tale” when a concerned parent emailed concerns regarding the subject matter in the book. The teachers decided to have the students read “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho instead to avoid conflict. “Some parents are critical about the contents students are reading,” says Jones. However not all the students agreed with the sudden switch. Junior Shreya Kumar says, “I didn’t think there needed to be a switch because we already read other books that contained inappropriate content, such as 1984.”

Overall, whether books are banned or not, the controversy it causes arouses curiosity and provokes bookworms to read and find out the reason why.