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The Blue & Gray Press | October 22, 2017

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Controversial book topics necessary to prepare for college experience

Controversial book topics necessary to prepare for college experience

By JOSEPH YEAGER

Letting high-school students look at controversial topics and giving them responsibility to judge these topics on their own is something that is extremely important because it prepares them for the college experience.

You are often expected to read and analyze information that may be controversial and inappropriate to younger audiences in college, and allowing high school students to see this kind of information is something that will help them mature and be another step closer to being prepared for the college experience.

A bill was recently vetoed by Governor Terry McAuliffe that would force schools in Virginia to inform parents if a book contains sexually explicit content and require students to get permission to read them. The bill will likely not pass even with the strong support from the Republican Party because there was even bigger push from the Democratic Party and free speech groups to veto it. A Democrat, Mr. McAuliffe, has stated that the State Board of Education is already looking at a similar policy and that these kinds of curriculum decisions should be left to local school boards.

Informing parents over something as minuscule as books having sexual content is blocking them from entering the adult world. People constantly berate young adults for not knowing how to do things, or having proper experience; yet people constantly try to hide these kinds of issues from teenagers who are on the verge of adulthood.

UMW has different classes, clubs and groups which mention or deal with sexual content in some way, and not giving teenagers proper freedom to explore this themselves will give them a jaded view or no knowledge at all on this topic. Classes in college often expect you to have a base level of knowledge, and censoring controversial topics will give you a disadvantage. Another problem with this bill is that students are required to ask their parents for permission.

By doing this we are treating high-schoolers and teenagers like they don’t have the proper knowledge or experience to look at sexual content on their own, and implying that they shouldn’t be allowed to look at controversial things without permission from an adult. This is not what we should be teaching teenagers because it goes against the whole point of schooling, which is to prepare students for the world outside of school.

Allowing this bill to pass may seem like it will only be having a small effect on the current school system, but the bill’s implications are actually huge. By passing this bill we are supporting that hiding controversial concepts from teenagers is a good thing, and that to gain access to these subjects students need permission.

This should not be the case because students need a chance to look at these issues themselves to prepare themselves for college. Sexual topics, religion, warfare and political concepts are all explored in college, and a bill censoring one of them could eventually lead to other bills censoring others.