In a small town less than a hundred miles south of Los Angeles, a school district will soon meet to decide whether or not to ban Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary as being "age in-appropriate."
The whole ordeal started with a parent's complaint that his child came across the words "oral sex." The dictionaries were removed from classrooms last week, and a committee is being formed to determine whether a permanent ban on Merriam Webster dictionaries is in order.
Menifee, which is in Riverside County, is a small town with under 100,000 residents. Their school district serves students from kindergarten through eight grade.
The decision to remove the dictionaries from the shelves of all classrooms in the school district, according to an assistant superintendant, wasn't only because the dictionary mentions "oral sex," but "a number of referenced words" school administrators found offensive. Clearly, Menifee elders are more concerned about insulating children than educating them.
Coming on the heels of a Supreme Court decision, last week, that imbues corporate entities with so-called free speech, one wonders what kind of lesson the city of Menifee has for its youngsters about the First Amendment.
If Menifee's school district decides to permanently ban Merriam Webster's Dictionary from their classrooms, they will be setting a deafening precedent not only by banning valuable resource books, but by yielding to parental pressure.
There can be no education without access to information.
Moreover, should the school district's committee decide to make the egregious act of pulling dictionaries from school shelves school policy, no educator in Menifee will be able to teach seventh grade American history without also removing the Bill of Rights.
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