This op-ed about using "R-rated" books in the classroom has been making the rounds. I think the problem with Wendy Day’s argument is that she never actually explains what criteria should be used to judge a book’s propriety for classrooms. All she does is continually state that "school boards" should choose wisely.
In other words, she says to ban R-rated books without ever defining what an R-rated book is. Lame.
School boards have an important responsibility to their communities to make sure that the curriculum is appropriate for students. Just as showing an R-rated movie would not be appropriate in the classroom, it is right to question using an R-rated book.
And Day’s argument that "schools censor all the time" because "there are a plethora of curriculum choices and not all can be selected" is just grasping at straws. Please.
Anyway, I’ll point everyone to Matthew Cheney’s essay from the Winter 07 Quarterly Conversation, in which he tries to do exactly what Day avoided doing: elaborate criteria by which to judge if a book is fit for the classroom or not.