Censorship isn’t child’s play — staff editorial

The wildly popular Harry Potter children’s book series recently faced criticism by parents claiming that the stories teach witchcraft and sorcery – they say it has facets of Devil-worship.

These concerned parents undoubtedly have the welfare of children in mind, but censoring the Harry Potter series would not serve the children’s best interest.

Children are excited to read the Harry Potter stories – tales of a boy’s adventures at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. And author J. K. Rowling makes sure that good always wins over evil.

The overwhelming interest in Harry Potter is evidenced by the fact that the series holds the top three spots on The New York Times best-seller list. Seven million Harry Potter books have been sold in the U.S.

In an age when television and video games have rapidly replaced reading as the leisure activity of choice for youngsters, parents and educators should welcome the Harry Potter phenomenon. Many children voluntarily pass up mindless and often violent video games to curl up with a Harry Potter book. This sort of behavior should be encouraged.

Teachers have found an invaluable tool in the Harry Potter series, reading the stories to rapt audiences of young students. Cases have been reported in which students actually stayed in class past the allotted time to listen to teachers narrate the Harry Potter books.

Parents have the right to choose what material their children are subjected to in school. However, the wide-ranging censorship proposed by a minority of overzealous parents is not the answer.

The Harry Potter series is not harmful to children. Millions of kids are reading – and that shouldn’t be censored.

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