Censoring history in the classroom is potentially dangerous for future generations


Matteo Sarais

Government teacher, KC Williams, asks his students for current topics to discuss and debate. Luckily, Santa Fe is not victim to the unreasonable amount of censorship.

Kathryn Burkhart, Santa Fe Staff Writer

Rewriting, sugarcoating, or even erasing events from history is nothing new, but in recent times the subject of censoring history, especially in the classroom, has come to light. High school students across the country are being shielded from controversial topics and are barred from learning about the most important events in history.

There are several forms of censorship within schools, the main one being censoring books. Many books that have been pulled from the shelves of both middle and high schools are well-known but controversial classics. Racist slurs are censored in the timeless classic To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee and graphic scenes depicting the slaughter of Jewish families in Night, the autobiography of Elie Wiesel, a survivor of the Holocaust. Whether it is fictional or biographical, both carry important messages and lessons. It is unacceptable to be taking away a student’s right to read these books, especially in a high school.

The censorship in the classroom does not just extend to literature; controversial symbols and events are becoming softened and covered up by school boards across the country. Sensitive topics such as slavery and racism are quickly brushed over to talk about the “brighter” side of American history.

Not only is this shameful towards history itself, but it is also potentially harmful to future generations. Controversial but historically relevant decorations or lessons should not be hidden as long as their sole purpose is to teach and not to display a teacher’s political rhetoric.

Although some may see this as a call to end all censoring in within all school types, this is not the case. There should be a regulation or censorship according to age. For example, it is obviously not appropriate to introduce elementary children to history by addressing the most controversial events in history such as the atrocities of slavery in the Americas. There is a fine line in which we must ease students into the introduction of the more uncomfortable parts of history.

However, there is no pleasant way of learning the worst parts of history without taking away from the gravity of the event. You simply cannot focus on the positive events in U.S. history and turn a blind eye on the negative. This teaches students not only a wrong history but how to remain ignorant of the current history happening around them.

Censoring history is a dangerous and prevalent issue occurring within our schools across America. Students who remain ignorant during their high school life will have difficulty understanding political, social, and economic events happening in the present.  


For more information, contact Kathryn Burkhart at: [email protected].