On Tuesday, hundreds of students from Jefferson County, C.O. flooded their neighborhoods, waving signs to protest a recently proposed curriculum-review committee. If formed, the committee will serve to alter the Advanced Placement U.S. History course to “promote patriotism, respect for authority and to guard against educational materials that ‘encourage or condone civil disorder,’” according to an article in the “New York Times.”
At the heart of the protest lies a fundamental principle: the right to knowledge and truth. We often trudge mindlessly from class to class, forgetting that in these formative years of our lives, we are entirely subject to the viewpoints of our teachers and the books they choose for us to read. Fortunately, we attend an institution that we can trust to provide us with a comprehensive education; students in Jefferson County, however, do not feel the same.
Censorship in any form encroaches upon the ideals of honesty and freedom. We are lucky to attend a school that recognizes these values. In the words of Mark Twain, censorship is the same as “telling a man he can’t have a steak because a baby can’t chew it.”
The Oliver Wendell Holmes Library (OWHL) featured this quote on the whiteboard behind the information desk last month as part of its celebration of “Banned Books Week,” a week designated to highlighting the importance of open access to information. The OWHL’s tribute included an extensive display of familiar books featuring tabs with reasons why each book has been challenged or banned: “And Tango Makes Three” for homosexuality; Toni Morrison’s “The Bluest Eye” for being sexually explicit; “The Great Gatsby” for nudity; “Captain Underpants” for obscenity.
We, _The Phillipian_, feel fortunate to exist in a community that values freedom of expression and freedom of the press. As the only independent secondary school newspaper that is not subject to any type of prior review before publication, we are both proud to have upheld this responsibility for 137 years and deeply saddened that other school newspapers across the nation are not afforded the opportunity to do the same.
In the words of the OWHL, we believe that “restriction of free thought and free speech is the most dangerous of all subversions.” We commend Andover for its commitment to the freedom to learn.
_This editorial represents the views of The Phillipian_ Editorial Board _CXXXVII._