St. Paul Avalon School students talk about censorship

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Gathered in Avalon School’s full office, Rhiannon, Miranda, Keara and Michelle were passionate about their desire to be able to read and decide for themselves what they believe. They want to read Eleanor and Park, which their school will be reading as part of the Read Brave program. That’s a St. Paul Public Library program that has teens all reading the same book at the same time — a book that “discusses important topics like bullying, abuse and love.”

Rainbow Rowell, the author of Eleanor and Park, spoke to Avalon Students on October 30th, after their lunch time. She’d been scheduled to speak at an Anoka County library, but after a group of parents objected, her appearance was cancelled. Marika Staloch from the St. Paul Public Library Read Brave program and Avalon School invited her to speak.

Miranda said, “I don’t feel like I personally been censored but sometimes I feel like I have to censor myself.” She related that she might censor her language in an improv theater piece if her parents were in the audience. “I feel like things have been censored before they come to me. I can think for myself,” she said.

TC Daily Planet interns went to the author reading at Avalon School. Here’s what they found:

“Being able to process what’s in a book really depends on maturity not age” said Keara. “Lots of people censor high school students. They think we are all the same maturity level.

Michelle felt that censorship has a place in some certain situations. Parents may want to protect their kids yet, “Parents might not like something, but sometimes the kid just has to learn on their own.”

Rhiannon thinks that censorship just comes down to being uncomfortable with a topic. “We need to talk about things that make us uncomfortable I get frustrated when people say no and censor us. Important subjects need to be discussed but get pushed to the side.”

This is one of a number of articles produced by student interns at the TC Daily Planet.


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