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How do you feel when a school district decides to remove a piece of popular literature from its curriculum?

That was the conversation had in my house last night after Canyon ISD issued a letter over a high school English reading assignment. It's posted below. You can read it if you want to. I'm not going to recap the whole thing.

When I was growing up, it seemed that every few years there were more books being added to the "naughty list." Oddly enough, one year Fahrenheit 451 was one of them.

I get wanting to protect your children. I'm not sure I'm ready to sit down and have a conversation about Naked Lunch or Flowers For Algernon with my kids.

That doesn't mean I'm going to tell them it's filth and has no redeeming qualities. That also doesn't mean I will petition a school district to make sure no student has access to it. Quite the opposite, actually.

The written word should move you; should evoke emotion. Sometimes it makes us smile. Sometimes it makes us uneasy. It can make you angry, or leave you euphoric.

There's more to life than Cosmo articles. Books help remind us of that.

Books give us a view of what it means to live a life that is beyond the simplicity of our meager day-to-day. When we "ban" books, we ban more than words. We ban points of view. We ban the life experience being shared with us by the author; which is the secret ingredient to almost all great literary works.

My wife and I went through my collection last night. From Hemingway to Lovecraft, Hunter Thompson, Kerouac, Thoreau, Salinger, Heller, Ginsburg, Stevenson, Keyes, Emerson, Poe, and yes even Burroughs; I wouldn't deny any of my children the right to see the world through those eyes.

I wouldn't deny them the opportunity to laugh, cry, or be challenged by any of those points of view. I wouldn't demand that you or a school district do it either.

But that's just my opinion. What's yours?

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