Opinion | Book-banning is not a substitute for parenting

The Dec. 26 front-page article “An ideological challenge reverberates in Florida” described a situation in which proponents of banning books put people on the defensive on the issue of whether books should be banned from schools. These parents cite various reasons for their position, including sexual content and discussion about racial conflict in books. I believe people who oppose these bans should go on the offensive. There are two arguments they should make.

First, many parents want their children to read classics such as “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “The Catcher in the Rye.” They also want their children to read books by LGBTQ+ authors to get a different (or supportive) perspective on life. What rights do these people have to ban books that other parents want their children to read?

The second argument is more basic. When parents were children, their parents monitored what they were reading. If they didn’t approve of the books their children were reading, they took them away. Why can’t these parents do the same? In essence, they are asking school libraries to become babysitters for their children. School librarians aren’t trained for that role and shouldn’t have to perform it. Parents are better trained to care for these children, and libraries shouldn’t have to babysit.

Both of these arguments are sound and should be raised at every meeting where banning books is an issue.

David L. Elkind, Arlington