How To Be An Open Book About Book Banning

Books are often considered a passport to learning and education, but what happens when groups decide certain passports and pathways to learning are doing more harm than good?

Missouri schools have banned nearly 300 books in accordance with a new state law that prohibits obscene material or references from being disseminated among students and schoolchildren.

This may mean that other states will feel empowered to enact censorship laws that will remove materials deemed offensive by that governing body. How should schools react? Should they react at all? Here are some tips for school administrators and districts to navigate the latest book banning craze.

Learn your state’s censorship laws
In order to better understand book banning, it’s helpful to understand the obscenity and censorship laws in your state.

Teacher and schoolkids having fun in drawing class

Reading through the laws and understanding what books and materials can and cannot be shared in schools can help school leaders get ahead of any potential punishment (fines, loss of accreditation, etc.) for failure to comply.

Keep an open line of communication with students and families
Parents and guardians will have questions about why certain books are banned and certain books are allowed, so it’s important to keep an open line of communication with your school community as these changes will not only be sweeping, but swift in nature.

Staying up to date with the latest updates and changes, then sharing them with parents and guardians ensures understanding.

Be prepared to give statements to the press
Censorship is one of the hot-button topics surrounding the current political climate, which means news media will be following the story for as long as it has traction.

School districts and administrators must be prepared for questions from journalists regarding the district or school’s views on book banning. To do this, it is suggested that they collaborate with communications professionals to provide measured and thoughtful responses that will represent a firm and objective view on the topic.

Two mixed-race multi-ethnic classmates kids schoolchildren listening to the chemistry science class lesson at school lab wearing protective eyeglasses using reagents.

At SMJ Communications, we provide services to school systems and districts to help improve and shine a light on the great work being done to educate the future leaders and professionals of tomorrow. For more information on what we do and how we can work together, please visit

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