What Schools Ban and Why


What Schools Ban and Why



by R. Murray Thomas [former College at Brockport faculty member].

Schools in the United States have historically banned many different things. From clothing to weapons, from cell phones to books, schools have implemented various types of censorship and restrictions on their students for a variety of reasons and with a variety of results. This book's purpose is to describe the various things banned in schools, the reasons behind attempts to ban such things, the types of people who approve of censoring those things and the types who do not, the outcome of representative cases of censorship, and suggestions for school personnel about how to cope with bans. Each chapter addresses the same sequence of topics: a particular type of ban's domain and historical background; representative cases of the ban's application; ban supporters and their methods; ban critics and their methods; and ways of resolving conflicts over the ban.

While some may argue that cell phones are necessary in today's school setting, others would suggest they are disruptive. While some may argue The Catcher in the Rye should be banned, others may say it is essential reading for American students. More recently, some schools have banned all of the Harry Potter books from their library shelves. Few would argue that a ban on weapons is a bad thing, but who determines what should be considered a weapon? In some schools, restrictions are placed on Web access, but who decides what to allow and what not to allow? Where do the lines get drawn? Here, Thomas reviews the many areas of censorship in our schools and helps readers draw their own conclusions.



Publication Date


Publication Information

Westport, Conn. : Praeger, 2008.

vii, 282 p. ; 25 cm.


Educational Administration and Supervision


Educational Administration


Located in Drake Library at: LB3012.2 T56 2008

CONTENTS: Forbidden environments ; The book's purpose ; A framework for interpreting bans ; Conclusion -- Books ; Illustrative cases ; Who challenges books? ; Suggestions for school practice -- Computers and the Internet ; Schools' computer prohibitions ; Suggestions for school practice -- Movies, television, and photographs ; Typical controversies ; Suggestions for school practice -- Garb ; Significant societal conditions ; Features of the garb debate ; Illustrative cases ; Suggestions for school practice -- Food and drink ; The adversaries ; Illustrative cases ; Suggestions for school practice -- Speech ; The evolution of speech policies ; The influence of personal values ; Word-meaning problems ; Political considerations ; Schools' speech codes ; Suggestions for school practice -- Bullying and sexual annoyances ; Bullying ; Hazing ; Sexual annoyances ; Suggestions for school practice -- Music ; Religious music ; Morally offensive lyrics ; Suggestions for school practice -- Vandalism ; Forms of vandalism ; Treating vandals ; Suggestions for school practice -- Drugs, alcohol, and tobacco ; Illegal drugs ; Prescription and over-the-counter products ; Alcohol ; Tobacco ; Suggestions for school practice -- Weapons ; The Columbine effect ; New school rules ; Illustrative cases ; Controversial decisions ; Suggestions for school practice -- People ; Troublesome intruders ; Troublesome staff members ; Troublesome students ; Suggestions for school practice -- Ceremonies and performances ; Religious ; Profane/vulgar ; Political ; Criminal ; Suggestions for school practice -- Displays ; Promoting a religion ; Fostering illegal, immoral, or antisocial behavior ; Advocating a political position ; Suggestions for school practice -- A likely future ; Speculation about the years ahead.

What Schools Ban and Why