My world changed on Sept. 18, 2020, when my first granddaughter was born. Every day since has been brighter and filled with anticipation of my next visit with her and her future in general.
I’ve had many opportunities for her to take me places; one of those was to the Mt Laurel library for children’s story hour. I say “she took me” because we wandered around the parking lot for about 10 minutes before I told her to take me to story time, and she took my hand and led me to the back of the parking area.
Wandering in, we innocently took seats in the story time circle. She ecstatically greeted her friends and then participated in the playtime and storybook reading. I was just happy that she was content to be with me and away from her mom.
This story ends well because OUR local library didn’t have anything inappropriate for my two-year-old that day, meaning this grandma escaped from inadvertently exposing her to something truly horrible. Had I chosen to go to the next closest library, however, it may have been a different story.
North Shelby County Library on Cahaba Valley Road had an LBGTQ display in the middle of the children’s section this summer. That’s right, the section designed for our youngest and most impressionable human beings, the ones with the least ability to make decisions for themselves, and the ones who are in the greatest need to be protected by the adults in their lives.
Why would the adults in this library expose babies to books with such a pronounced social goal? Can we, as a society, agree that some topics are too complex and difficult for children, especially those of pre-school age?
Recall whether you have ever uttered a bad word in front of a child just learning to talk. How soon was it before they repeated it back to you? Considering this, does anybody believe that children aren’t paying attention to every little thing around them?
Of course they are! So it’s up to the parents, grandparents, and other caring adults in their lives to keep them safe in a world growing increasingly more confusing and more difficult to navigate.
I am not suggesting banning books of any kind. But common sense demands that we not expose children to topics that are beyond their ability to understand.
Children thankfully don’t perceive race or sexual activity until a much older age and should not have to deal with the intricacies of sexual relationships, much less transitioning to another gender until they are more mature. Parents are the adults that understand their child the best and have the responsibility to determine the right time for those subjects. Thus, the adults in Shelby County and particularly those in the library system should be required to file any potentially confusing texts in an area of the library where children do not have access without the direct supervision of a parent.
Furthermore, local libraries need to be compelled by law to keep age-inappropriate material out of the children’s section; school libraries should be required to do the same. Parents should be able to feel safe in sending their children to any public library and know that they will not be exposed to topics that they aren’t ready to introduce to their child. I believe that the rights of parents are paramount.
To preserve liberty in our society, we should all be opposed to censorship and discrimination in whatever form it takes; we don’t want the government to tell us what we can and can’t read.
But ultimately, this is an issue of who has the duty to determine what is best for their children: the parents or the state. Whether it’s books that obviously have a social agenda in a library, the curriculum in their school, or even which school they attend, all parents have the right and responsibility to choose what is best for their children.
Charlotte Meadows is a mother of three and grandmother of three. A former representative in the Alabama Legislature and former member of the Montgomery Public Schools Board of Education, she current serves as the board chair of LEAD Academy.
The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of 1819 News. To comment, please send an email with your name and contact information to [email protected].
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