Parental Consent or Censorship
Holly Fischer, a senior triple majoring in broadcasting, political science and advertising and public relations, won eighth place in the 2023 Hearst Audio Competition with "Parental Consent or Censorship" and "Drought Resiliency in Nebraska."
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[00:00:01.523]I'm pretty sure they actually do --
[00:00:03.660]The library has always been one
[00:00:05.520]of our favorite places to just go and look at books.
[00:00:07.800]But now it's just becoming like
[00:00:09.540]it's almost better if I just put some books
[00:00:11.460]on hold that I know and we can avoid being in there.
[00:00:13.740]Casey Beavers is a mother of three young girls.
[00:00:16.560]She's concerned about a book titled
[00:00:18.187]"A Quick and Easy Guide to Consent"
[00:00:20.280]that was on display at Lincoln Public Libraries.
[00:00:22.680]As a, an adult married woman, I was learning things
[00:00:25.650]about sex, and I'm thinking,
[00:00:28.777]"my kids are going to be drawn to this."
[00:00:31.170]Parents in states like Louisiana, Idaho, Illinois
[00:00:34.410]and even Nebraska, are challenging children's
[00:00:36.780]books they claim have inappropriate content.
[00:00:39.000]Do you eventually, and you don't read past...
[00:00:41.520]Free speech organization PEN America has identified
[00:00:44.460]at least 50 groups working at local, state
[00:00:47.154]and national levels to remove books from school libraries.
[00:00:52.050]According to the report,
[00:00:53.370]this is a relatively recent occurrence.
[00:00:55.920]Many of the groups such as Moms for Liberty in Omaha
[00:00:59.190]began in 2021.
[00:01:01.290]We reached out to them for comment, but they did not reply.
[00:01:04.350]But I've never seen as many challenges
[00:01:07.050]throughout my career as I do right now.
[00:01:09.390]Assistant Director of Lincoln Public Libraries Tracy Glass
[00:01:13.020]says the battle for censorship has increased
[00:01:15.390]since the pandemic.
[00:01:17.010]The American Library Association says that from July, 2021
[00:01:20.370]to March, 2022, there was a record breaking 1600 challenges
[00:01:25.530]to books in libraries across the country.
[00:01:28.170]It seems to me a real overreach for a parent to say,
[00:01:31.867]"I don't want my kids to read this, and therefore
[00:01:34.680]no other kid should have access to this either."
[00:01:37.350]Constitutional law professor at Nebraska School of Law
[00:01:40.320]Eric Berger says the attempt to
[00:01:42.360]ban books is a breach of the Constitution.
[00:01:45.060]That does violate the First Amendment.
[00:01:48.450]PEN America reports that 41% of book challenges
[00:01:51.552]occur against content with LGBTQ+ themes.
[00:01:55.650]Representation is, is there for us to learn and to grow.
[00:02:00.150]Assistant director at UNL's
[00:02:01.320]LGBTQA+ resource center JD McCown
[00:02:05.820]says children need to be exposed
[00:02:07.560]to diverse content.
[00:02:09.150]Widening their worldview when they're younger makes it
[00:02:11.880]so that they're able to go into this global society,
[00:02:14.940]and I think really thrive.
[00:02:16.950]The Lincoln Library puts books in sections
[00:02:19.380]according to age appropriateness.
[00:02:21.420]Parents with concerns over the placement
[00:02:23.310]of books can submit their concerns to Vicki Woods
[00:02:26.190]with the request for reconsideration committee.
[00:02:28.710]Sometimes we even move things down or we move them up
[00:02:31.950]or we move them over, but we don't typically remove things.
[00:02:35.640]It hasn't happened yet that we've removed anything.
[00:02:38.250]As the world diversifies,
[00:02:39.750]so will the content in books.
[00:02:41.760]Parents might not always like this, but Glass says
[00:02:44.850]this is the power of democracy at work.
[00:02:47.970]When you are providing information to people for free
[00:02:50.790]without judgment, that shows that you live in a democracy.
[00:02:55.410]Reporting for 90.3 KRNU, I'm Holly Fisher.
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