500 signatures reached
To: Fairfax County School Board
Hip Hip Hooray for our School Board Today!
The Fairfax County School Board stood up to a small group of organized, radical operatives seeking to purge our school libraries of books with themes, text and/or ideas with which they disagree. We strongly commend this action.
We applaud the procedure already in place within Fairfax County Public Schools for formally challenging whether any book in our system is appropriate for the age level for which it may be accessible, and for recognizing the need to provide diverse reading material to reflect our student population.
We strongly encourage our Board members to continue to refrain from taking action to quiet the loudest voices in the room, and to remain steadfast in their commitment to providing a nurturing, safe, exceptional, and inspiring experience for each child who attends Fairfax County Public Schools.
Why is this important?
Books, and especially books with controversial, unpopular and/or unconventional protagonists, are common targets for censorship. This strategy to control thought runs counter to our culture's deeply-held beliefs in the importance of freedom of expression.
We strongly support each parent's right and obligation to engage fully in their child's education. However, that right does not extend to dampening the opportunities for new ideas or exploration of cultures, lives, and lifestyles, both villainous and virtuous, in the past, present and future, for other children in our system's schools. Through reading, these imaginary journeys promote empathy, understanding, inspiration and curiosity, all essential traits for healthy adults and a thriving democracy.
We applaud our Fairfax County Public School's conclusion that the books in question are "valuable in their potential to reach marginalized youth who may struggle to find relatable literary characters who reflect their personal journeys."
We note that, contrary to the public assertions that propelled action by FCPS, no depiction of pedophilia was found by either school committee formed to investigate the allegations that the books were not suitable.
It is important that everyone who believes in the the value of diverse ideas, intellectual freedom and curiosity, and the contribution books make to a healthy democracy, reject the notion that censuring books is a pathway to a better future. Please join us in supporting our Fairfax County Public School Board.