For our display, we chose to highlight the importance of free scientific discourse while considering the potential harm caused by censorship. Many libraries, schools and bookstores nationwide display books that have been challenged for the presumed dangers of their content and ideas being made available to the public. However, the Library Bill of Rights states in article III that: "Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment." With this goal in mind, we encourage you to explore some of these important science texts that are part of the display and read why they have been challenged over the years:
BIOLOGY by Karen Arms and Pamela S. Camp
(1985) Bowing to pressure from opponents of the textbook planned for the use in a high school honors course, the Garland Independent School District’s (Texas) central textbook selection committee withdrew its recommendation because the text includes “overly explicit diagrams of sexual organs, intricate discussion of sexual stimulation, and the implication of abortion as a means of birth control.”
HEALTH by John LaPlace
(1984) Challenged at the Randolph High School (New Jersey) by a group of parents and clergy who say “the textbook is too liberal and should be replaced or supplemented by a more traditional book.”
HUMAN SEXUALITY by Elizabeth Winship, Frank Caparulo, and Vivian K. Harlin
(1994) Removed from use in health classes by the Belleville School District School Board (Missouri) after parents had complained that the book “didn’t stress abstinence from sex by high school students,” and because “it didn’t say whether sexual relations before marriage, homosexuality, masturbation, or abortion are right or wrong.”
IN THE BEGINNING: SCIENCE FACES GOD IN THE BOOK OF GENESIS by Isaac Asimov
(1981) Officials of the Christian Research Center requested San Diego (California) school administrators to keep this title out of all high school libraries because Asimov “subjects the Bible to merciless and unremitting destructive attack.”
MAKING LIFE CHOICES: HEALTH SKILLS AND CONCEPTS by Francis S. Sizer, et al.
(1997) The Franklin County school board (North Carolina) ordered three chapters cut out of the ninth-grade health textbooks. Those chapters dealt with AIDS, HIV, and other sexually transmitted diseases; pairing, marriage, and parenting; and sexual behavior and contraception.
ON THE ORIGIN OF SPECIES by Charles B. Darwin
(1859) Banned from Trinity College in Cambridge, England.
(1925) Tennessee passed a law prohibiting teachers from teaching the theory of evolution in state supported schools. John T. Scopes, a science teacher in Dayton, volunteered to be the test case for Tennessee’s anti-evolution law. The Scopes’s “monkey trial,” eventually was thrown out on a technicality.
(1935) Banned in Yugoslavia.
(1937) Banned in Greece.
(1925) Tennessee passed a law prohibiting teachers from teaching the theory of evolution in state supported schools.
(1980) Arkansas and Louisiana state boards of education required teaching both creationism and evolution in public schools. These laws were ruled unconstitutional in 1987 by the U.S. Supreme Court in Edwards v. Aguillard.
OUR FAMILY TREE: AN EVOLUTION STORY by Lisa W. Peters
(2006) Retained in the Seaman Unified School Disrtict 345 (Kansas) elementary school library. Objections were raised because the book is about the scientific theory of evolution.
POPULATION, EVOLUTION AND BIRTH CONTROL by Garrett Hardin
(1977) The Brighton School Board (Michigan) voted to remove all sex education books from the high school library.
Source used: Doyle, Robert P. Banned Books : Challenging Our Freedom to Read. Chicago, Ill.: American Library Association, 2010.