Banning ‘Harry Potter’

The banning of books has been something that has happened in the United States for several years now. Parents, teachers, and other people in the community challenge a book when they believe it is not suitable or clean enough for the young readers. It has been a battle between parents and public schools now for several years. The majority of the banned books include the topics of sexual content, violence, religion, profanity, and homosexuality. The incorporation of these subjects in books helps the students’ to see the different aspects of the world that they may not have been exposed to yet. In schools, it should be the students’ choice on the material they read such as the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling.

Book banning in America has been a very controversial topic now for quite some time. When a book gets challenged it is usually from a parent who finds the material of the book that their child is reading to be offensive. It has happened with a number of award winning books such as Huck Finn, The Hunger Games, To Kill a Mockingbird, and even Harry Potter. Every year an organization releases its list of the books that has been banned most for the year (Maughan). Harry Potter has made its way on that list several times in the past. Captain Underpants by Dave Pilkey is another book that has been banned. The children’s book has been challenged in many schools because of the childish manor displayed in it. The book was made for kids to be entertained while reading not just for kids to learn how to play pranks and joke more. Most of the time books are banned, people think they are banned out of hate for the book, but it is quite the opposite. Parents are actually worried about the information their children are taking in. Author Emily Knox expresses the parents’ concerns. She said, “I think they are often very thoughtful. And I don’t necessarily think that it’s wrong for people to challenge books. It’s my job to protect the knowledge, even knowledge we ourselves disagree with” (Albanese). What she is saying is most people think that books are being banned just because a certain author wrote it or people just make up certain things about books. But actually most of the people who do challenge books and want them banned are genuinely concerned about the content of some books. Most of the time it is parents of younger children who do not want their kids reading or hearing certain things. This is understandable, but at the same time the books should not be removed because one person has a problem with them. Also the objections are made by people who have not read the book. They should be left on the shelves for everyone else to enjoy.

The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling tells a story about a young orphan boy Harry Potter. His parents are killed when he is young and Dumbledore leaves him at the step of the Dursleys house, his aunt and uncle. He spends his whole childhood with his god-awful aunt and uncle who treat him very poorly. For ten years he is stuck with them and his snob of a cousin Dudley, but by the age of eleven he discovers his magical powers. He is sent a letter by a school with the name of Hogwarts. He sets off on the adventure of going to Hogwarts. On his way he meets his life long friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger. From this point on he goes through school and training to become one of the best sorcerers on school grounds. He has a tough rivalry with another kid on campus, Draco Malfoy. Harry soon learns that Voldemort has come back after dying, and he is out to get him. Voldemort is responsible for the deaths of Harry’s mother and father. And before he knows it he will have to face his destiny. Taking on Voldemort (Bloomsbury).

The Harry Potter series was published between 1997 and 2007. Throughout the world there has been roughly 400 million copies of the Harry Potter books sold and it has been translated into 68 different languages. With a book as popular as this one there is obviously going to be some backlash from certain crowds. The award winning novel has landed itself on the American Library Association’s list of top banned books for several years now. Some people have suggested that “Harry, Hermione, and Ron are recruiters for Satan’s army” (Editorial: When Harry met Satan). This seems as if it would be a joke, but it turns out that quite a few people believe this. For example, a mother in Atlanta, Georgia, has asked the school board to remove the Harry Potter books from the library. She states that, “The books are an evil attempt to indoctrinate kids into the Wicca religion, and foster the kind of culture that leads to atrocities like the Columbine school shooting” (Editorial: When Harry met Satan). This is not the mother’s first time trying to get these books removed from her childs library. She claims that “the fiction series is harmful because children are unable to differentiate between reality and fantasy” (Editorial: Harry Potter books shouldn’t be banned). She and many others claim the book promotes evil tendencies in children. The satirical news source The Onion reported on this matter of the Harry Potter books. The article they released had the title “Harry Potter Books Spark Rise In Satanism Among Children.” In this they talked about how “Satan worship had increased from 100,000 to 14 million children and young adults” (Editorial: When Harry met Satan). With this article being released to the public, people started to think that these accusations were actually true. With The Onion’s article this helped spark the Harry Potter rampage.

Others across the country believe the same thing about the Harry Potter series, but with a slight twist and different thought process. One school in particular was trying to ban the Harry Potter series is St. Edward Catholic School in Nashville, Tennessee. The school wants to remove the books because of fears of attracting evil spirits to themselves. Reverend Dan Rehill has brought this information to many exorcists now looking for help. He and others in the school district have the same views for the series. Reverend Dan Hill says, “These books present magic as good and bad, which is not true, but in fact it is a clever deception,” he continued with, “The curses and spells they use in the book are real curses and spells; who, when read by humans, are in danger of conjuring evil spirits in the presence of the person who reads the text”. With the Reverend’s views towards the book, he has gained some support and some retaliation. Parents and others in the St. Edward School District have sent some backlash towards the Reverend for his views on the Harry Potter books. His accusations of the books have made a couple parents question his views on certain subjects. His views and opinions have made parents wonder about “his ability to critically assess” things that go through the school and the fact that the decision was made without other school district members being able to chime in on the matter. People throughout the United States have also tuned into what is happening at St. Edward Schools. One person in particular wrote, “If the school thinks there are real magic spells in Harry Potter then it cannot be trusted to teach your child real scholastic skills” . As expected people are not agreeing with the Reverend and his absurd views towards the books. Where as they think it should be left on the shelves for people to read and enjoy.

St. Edward School is not one of the only school districts wanting to ban the Harry Potter series though. A school in Jacksonville, Florida was one of the most recent attempts to remove the series from their library. It is unclear what the main reason was for the challenge at the school is, but it is implied that it was most likely due to its magic use throughout the book. One person who is for these books staying in libraries is Judith Krug who is the director of the Office for Intellectual Freedom. She says, “These are magical books. They do something many parents and adults thought wasn’t possible anymore: They get kids reading. This is the kind of magic we need more in the world” (Harry). She has a very good point with this. Kids in today’s world are too stuck into social media and phones. They hardly do what kids are supposed to do anymore and if these books get them reading and off their phones then why would someone want to ban them so bad? They are accomplishing something that people have been trying to get done and it infuriates them (Harry). Another challenge to the books occured at a school in Oskaloosa, Kansas, where a reading club was shut down because the books were too harmful for the students and complaints were filed. Harry Potter has been under attack because of the satanic content they contain and the conjuring of spirits and all the other bad things said about the series.

In conclusion, parents believe that the Harry Potter series is not suitable for children, but it should be the students’ choice on the material they read such as the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. The books may just be removed from libraries in general one day and never thought about again. Book banning has been a major topic in public schools in America. The majority of the banned books include the topics of sexual content, violence, religion, profanity, and homosexuality. The incorporation of these subjects in books helps the students’ to see the different aspects of the world that they may not have been exposed to yet.