Sunday, February 18, 2007

There is a difference

It occurs to me that I should be clear. There is a difference between a concerned parent and a book banning know nothing nutter.

I love concerned parents.

Both a Concerned Parent and a BBKNN may not have read a children's book since their Betsy & Tacey / Go Dog Go days and are genuinely distressed by something in a children's or YA book

*******
A Concerned Parent reviews the book their child has checked out of the library

whereas

A BBKNN is working from a list they found on the internet and checking to see if the school library has any of the titles.

*******
A Concerned Parent talks to their child's teacher, librarian or principal about the book. They have a discussion with the librarian and others about the book.

whereas

A BBKNN goes directly to the school board demanding the book be banned.

*******
A Concerned Parent is genuinely worried about the effect a book has on their child and should be applauded for taking an interest in their child's reading life.

whereas

A BBKNN is primarily interested in the newspaper article about their school board appearance.

*******
A Concerned Parent works with the librarian to offer alternative reading choices to their child and the parent talks to their child about the books they expect them to read.

whereas

A BBKNN sends their kid into the library to check out yet ANOTHER controversial book so they can add it to their list of grievances.

*******
A Concerned Parent may determine that their child's reading selections need exploring and realize this is an opportunity to discuss certain issues with their child.

whereas

A BBKNN begins an email campaign maligning the librarian and expressing outrage over the presence of the book in the library and on the planet Earth.

*******
A Concerned Parent realizes that they can make reading choices for their own child but have no right to determine reading selections for other people's children.

whereas

A BBKNN complains about the book to people where he/she works and vows to "take the book down."

*******
A Concerned Parent may still honestly feel a book needs to be reconsidered after they have read it and they file paper work to have the book reconsidered.

whereas

A BBKNN files paperwork to challenge the book without reading the book in its entirety and goes through and picks words and scenes out of context to include in the complaint.

*******
A Concerned Parent reads the report of the reconsideration committee and finds a) the committee has agreed with the concerned parent or b) accepts that others have found value and merit in the book and is resigned that the book will remain on the shelf.

whereas

A BBKNN reads the report of the reconsideration committee and finds a) the committee has agreed with the BBKNN or b) shrieks in frustration that others have found value and merit in the book and is NOT resigned that the book will remain on the shelf.

Instead they immediately escalate and file an appeal vowing to take their complaint all the way to the state board of education.

*******
Concerned parents are concerned with the welfare of their own child.

whereas

BBKNNs' own children are not part of the equation because they don't let their kids read “those kinds of books” anyway.


I love concerned parents.

10 comments:

Chris Barton said...

Well put, Camille. I would just add that a Concerned Parent is also concerned with whether they're truly being a Concerned Parent or just a BBKNN. A BBKNN assumes that they're a Concerned Parent without really thinking about what that entails.

Camille said...

That is an excellent point, Chris. Concerned Parents reflect and worry that they might be censoring. BBKNNs start sentences with "I don't want to be a censor BUT..." I do know they REALLY believe they are working to protect ALL children.

I was lucky and only had to deal with one challenge and that was my first year, poor Shel Silverstein.

A good relationship with students and parents can go a long way to heading off problems and keeping concerns at the discussion level instead of the 'give me the paperwork' level.

Sherry said...

Good balance. I don't want to censor what other people allow their children to read either, but I'm tired of every time a parent expresses a concern, somebody immediately yells "Censorship!"

Camille said...

Exactly Sherry,
School librarians are also teachers and they care deeply about the welfare and success of their students. Most parents ARE rational and only raise questions when they are seriously concerned. They should expect a sincere and honest discussion. I believe it gives everyone an opportunity to shine.

Liz B said...

Concerned Parents are interested in finding books for their children to read; BBKNN's are interested in finding books they don't want their kids to read.

I respect & have worked with many CPs in the past, sometimes with very specific criteria (a book about autumn that does not mention Halloween or Thanksgiving.) I have seen busy CPs (with full time jobs and several small childre) sit down and go thru every one of the 30 odd books their children have picked out, sorting what to take and what not to take home, and I respect that. CPs understand that the library is for everyone, not just them.

Camille said...

Liz,
Beautifully said!

Elaine Magliaro said...

Great post! Thanks for adding your reasoned voice to the debate. I was an elementary school teacher for more than 30 thirty years and a school librarian for three years. I, too, love and appreciate concerned parents.

MotherReader said...

Excellent post. Great points.

I, like Sherry, get upset when "book-banning" is thrown around without regards to the situation. I think it's possible - possible, I'm saying - that the school/librarian/administration can be wrong. Concerened parents can have a voice, but they need to use that voice in an appropriate way.

Jone said...

I agree as well. Great post.
Here's my post:
http://maclibrary.edublogs.org/2007/02/19/the-higher-power-of-lucky-why-select-this-book/

Nancy said...

Good post. Well articulated.