Talk in the 10: Fremont County School District #1 and banning books

    Fremont County is large, diverse, and filled with opinions, or “talk in the 10.” “Talk in the 10” is an opportunity for you, our readers, to articulate and share your thoughts about what is happening in the community with the community. Letters may have been edited for clarity and length, but generally have been published exactly as received. The views expressed in the following are solely those of the author. Send your letters to our editors by emailing opi[email protected]

    The following letter to the editor was submitted in response to efforts from the Fremont County School District #1 board of trustees to change the policy IJLA – Public complaints about the curriculum or instructional materials.

    Dear Editor,


    When I was a young adult in the late 60s, I was engaged in trying to understand my world and the times. I read Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Kahlil Gibran, Albert Camus, Hermann Hesse, Leo Tolstoy, Gloria Steinem and Alan Ginsberg for example. My father considred Rolling Stone Magazine to be obscene and formally forbade the USPS from delivering my subscription. I  also taught swimming and lifeguard training at my local YMCA. The different aspects of my life were able to comfortably coexist.

    When studying for a Master’s Degree in 1990, I was curious when a collegue recommended Howard Zinn’s: A People’s History of the United States. The book was illuminating, as I read about unfamiliar aspects of the history of our country. I know I was not alone in receiving a fine college preparatory education in an excellent school, that was also surprisingly restrictive.

    I learned so much in this phase of my life, from reading and also paying attention to my fellow students, especially the minority students, as they were known then. I was lucky to find them open in sharing their life experiences, which varied greatly from mine. It wasn’t “woke”, but merely being open to listening and being respectful to other individuals.

    These life experiences, form my views on banning any media. Information should be be available to everyone. I agree with Aileen Brew, that if a parent has reservations about a book they should talk to the building librarian and/or a teacher initially. This is the level where most information lies. If a parent wants to restrict a particular book for their child, that is fine. Parents should not dictate which books should be present in schools.They are not trained professionals. School Boards should not be burdened with having debates about specific books. Their purview is at a remove from day to day educational decisions in the classroom or the library. School Boards should not be counting which “side” has the most responses to an issue. They need to maintain an objective view of policies and be aware that their decisions must protect the minority as well as the majority.


    It is time to grow up, expand your mind and respect all in the community.

    Still learning, 
    Maggie Viani


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