Censorship and Catholic Schools

By , North Smithfield, RI
Gay rights, suicide, euthanasia: some of the most debated and controversial topics in modern history. The Catholic church publicly dismisses each of these as wrong and immoral. In Catholic school such as the one I attend if someone has strong opinions in favor of any of these how do they voice them? With no current school newspaper and fears that their opinions will lead to opposition and repercussions, most of these students simply do not speak. So then the questions is raised: even if it officially opposes something, should Catholic schools allow students to share their opinions in favor of that same thing?

Ranging from not allowing pro-choice students to write in school newspapers to banning the use of rainbows in school because of its connotations with gay rights, Catholic schools worldwide have taken many steps to censor their students opinions that conflict with their own. Some argue that, while appearing dictatorial and unfair, a Catholic school should have the right to control the writings and influences that some of its students wish to make public. While to many this seems unjust, the other side could still make the argument that students go to the school knowing that it promotes the teachings of the Catholic church and if they feel strongly enough about something negative at the school the students have the option to leave. I believe that these rebuttals are not only weak, but also put Catholic schools and the Catholic church in a bad light.

Not allowing its students to voice their own ideas is not only detrimental to their growth of knowledge but also does not make these schools any more successful in promoting their own ideas. If students are told whatever the school tells them is right and that all other ways of thinking are wrong, then later in life they will be less open to ideas and more likely to “go with the flow of society”. When a person is told that a certain way of thinking is wrong even before they begin to think that way, I believe then the alternative way becomes desired. To me this means that blocking any opinions but its own is not a good way for these Catholic schools to get their message across. If Catholic schools teach their students lessons about protection of life and tradition, highlighting the good things about them, without saying it is necessarily the “right” thing to do, I believe the students will both become more open minded and more likely to accept the churches teachings on life issues.

This topic then brings up the question: to what extent, if any, should schools in general censor ideas? I know that in my own state their was a growing controversy over a prayer banner that was hanging in a public school auditorium. If public schools have the right to distance itself from religious affiliation, does this give Catholic schools the right to impose its own beliefs on its students? In my opinion, when a schools forces its students to learn or believe something, it has failed.

Censorship is a topic almost as controversial as the three topics listed above. In my opinion, we should not censor what could in any way, shape, or form help students learn and form fact based opinions of their own. For its own interests and for those of the students, I do not believe that Catholic schools should ever stop children from learning about things it apposes.





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research1234 said...
Feb. 5, 2015 at 8:02 am
I recently dealt with censorship at the Catholic school I attend. I wanted to write a research paper about stem cell research but because my opinion differs from the Catholic Church, I have been banned from writing my paper. I understand that the school can't support my point of view, but I was upset that they wouldn't allow me to be my own person and write about what I believe in. I am deeply disappointed in my school and strongly believe they should revaluate their censorship policies.
 
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