It was wit much dismay that I read in newspapers and listened to Philadelphia area news broadcasts discussing the mandate by the principal of Central Bucks South High School to instruct the librarian to remove a quotation by Elie Wiesel that he had posted in the library.
The quote is from Wiesel’s 1986 Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech: “I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”
The Central Bucks School District has since rescinded the order to the librarian.
Rather the Central Bucks School District might well follow the practice from what another school district in another state did several years ago when my grandson was in 9th grade. For every student in his class, one whole day at the beginning of the school year was devoted to reading and discussing Elie Wiesel’s “Night,” a candid, horrific, and deeply poignant autobiographical account of his survival as a teenager in the Nazi death camps.
What horrifies me and shames me the most about the Central Bucks School District flirtation with book banning is that I am a graduate of that school district. As were two of my children. And that I had taught in that school district. I know that other surviving members of my high school class are similarly embarrassed.
Fern Alexander Denney is a member of Central Bucks High School’s Class of 1955.