Hermon High School is seen in this Dec. 14, 2022, file photo. Credit: Linda Coan O'Kresik / BDN

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The recent Bangor Daily News banner headline, “Book ban campaign launched in Hermon” is indicative of a social perspective sweeping America. It’s not new, but it’s been reborn.

According to a small group of parents in this rural Maine town, sexuality and anything remotely related apparently is bad, immoral and inappropriate for students at all levels, from grade school through high school. This is a really dangerous, naive and, in my strong opinion, unnecessary message.

I was a school librarian for 26 years. It was my consistent observation that students choose books based on their ability to handle the information. Book choice is an individual decision, based on age and maturity. When they aren’t ready for material, they generally self-censor. By making those decisions for them, across the board, too many children are excluded from books that can help them cope, make them feel included and explain questions that they have but don’t want to verbalize. As parents, you have the right to look at the books they check out, read them yourself and engage in family discussions of the material. You can guide your children to appropriate choices without robbing other children of the right to read what is appropriate for them.

Certified School Librarians work hard to balance collections. Each book is not appropriate for each student, but each student should have choices that meet their needs within the school library.

Looking at history, one cannot help but acknowledge that actions like this have terrible consequences. We must protect intellectual freedom.

Val Rich