Letters to the Editor

Letter to the Editor

(printed in the Punxsy Spirit and Country Neighbors – 2023)

Dear Editor:

On the Punxsutawney Area School District page, it states that “The mission of the Punxsutawney Area School District is to prepare students for the future by enabling them to acquire knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary to become productive and responsible citizens.”

On May 3, 2023, there was a public meeting that gave candidates a chance to speak on what they would do as school board members if elected. Everyone at that meeting wanted our students to have a good education.  

Several candidates mentioned that politics has no place in the school.  What then, is this banning of 3 books that are discussed in a class called “Contested Books?” It is repressive, ultra-conservative politics!

The school board wants to ban these books just because they are on a national banned books list.

(Partly quoted from Wikipedia)

The Handmaid’s Tale “explores themes of subjugated women in a patriarchal society, loss of female agency and individuality, suppression of women’s reproductive rights, and the various means by which women resist and try to gain individuality and independence.”

The Kite Runner “tells the story of Amir, a young boy from the Wazir Akbar Khan district of Kabul. The story is set against a backdrop of tumultuous events, from the fall of Afghanistan’s monarchy through the Soviet invasion, the exodus of refugees to Pakistan and the United States, and the rise of the Taliban regime.”

The Hate U Give “is a 2017 young adult novel by Angie Thomas.  The book is narrated by Starr Carter, a 16-year-old African-American girl from a poor neighborhood who attends an elite private school in a predominantly white, affluent part of the city. Starr becomes entangled in a national news story after she witnesses a white police officer shoot and kill her childhood friend, Khalil. She speaks up about the shooting in increasingly public ways, and social tensions culminate in a riot after a grand jury decides not to indict the police officer for the shooting.”

Parents must give their consent for students to take this class. They trust that their teens have the maturity to read and understand these books.  Each one of these books can relate to situations from life in this country.  Each one offers the students opportunities for deep thought, meaningful discussions and problem-solving, possibly improving their lives in the future.

Why ban these books?

Jane Halin