“Gold Award” Girl Scout Challenges School Board Over Censoring Her Anti-Book Ban Project

Source: Richmond News Channel 6/Screenshot

Sometimes, kids can see things more clearly than most adults. That seemed to be the case in Hanover County, Virginia, this week, where a high school student is speaking out after the local school board “censored” her Gold Award Girl Scout project while they were ostensibly congratulating her for her achievement.

Girl Scout Kate Lindley received the “Gold Award” – the highest award given to Girl Scouts – to recognize her work fighting book banning in her community. However, the Hanover Board of Supervisors, which has a history of “de-selecting” books, removed all mention of book banning from her statement when honoring the four girls who completed projects this year.

Girl Scout Earns Prestigious Gold Award for Anti-Book Ban Project

Kate Lindley recently earned the prestigious Gold Award, the highest honor in Girl Scouts, for her project fighting book banning in her Virginia community.

Source: Instagram

However, when the Hanover County Board of Supervisors recognized Lindley and three other Gold Award recipients, they censored all mention of “banned books” from her statement.

Installing ‘Banned Book Nooks’ and Creating a Resource Website

For her project, Lindley installed ‘Banned Book Nooks’ in two local businesses to make banned books more accessible.

Source: Nicolas Galindo

She also created a website called ‘Free to Read’ that helps people find banned books online. Lindley said her goal was “exposing more community members to these titles, hopefully ending their demonization.”

Community Rallies Around Lindley

During a public comment session after the board removed mention of banned books from Lindley’s recognition, community members voiced their support for her.

Source: Medium

One speaker said, “It’s a sad day when the leaders of our county censor a teenager.” Lindley herself told the board, “You have shown the world that you are afraid to call something what it is, be that a banned book or a ‘de-selected’ one.”

School Board Censors Girl Scout’s Description, Removing Mention of Banned Books

Kate Lindley spent months working to combat book banning in her Virginia community as part of her Girl Scout Gold Award project.

Source: Instagram

She installed “Banned Book Nooks” in local businesses and created a website to help people access banned books.

Censorship Leads to More Censorship

According to Lindley, her project “exposes more community members to these titles, hopefully ending their demonization.” But the school board apparently didn’t want to spread that message.

Source: Publisher Weekly

Their censorship of Lindley’s project shows how censorship often snowballs into more censorship.

School Board Member Defends Censorship

Cold Harbor District Supervisor Michael Herzberg, who voted to censor Lindley’s description, claimed, “If anyone wants to support an author whose message is about pornography to children, then people have the right to do that.

Source: Hanover County

As a board member, I have a right to say no.” However, many of the banned books Lindley aimed to promote had nothing to do with pornography.

Standing Up For What She Believes

Lindley’s project and advocacy highlight the dangers of censorship. By speaking out against the school board’s actions, she shows courage and conviction in defending the freedom to read.

Source: Literaryagentmarkgottlieb

Her message serves as an inspiration, proving that young people can make a difference in fighting for civil liberties and against limitations on thought or expression.

Background on Increasing Book Bans in Schools Across the Country

Around the country, conservative groups have ramped up efforts to ban books from schools that discuss issues like racism, sexuality, and marginalized groups.

Source: AdobeStock/Eduardo

According to the American Library Association, book bans and challenges in K-12 schools have reached record highs. In 2021, the ALA received 729 reports of attempted book bans, the highest since they began tracking bans 20 years ago.

Censorship Impacts Marginalized Groups

Many of the banned books feature LGBTQ characters or discuss issues of race and racism. The most frequently banned book in 2021 was Maia Kobabe’s “Gender Queer: A Memoir,” a graphic novel about the author’s journey exploring their gender identity.

Source: Wikimedia/SmallPressExpo

Other frequently banned books include “The Hate U Give” by Angie Thomas, which discusses police violence against Black people, and “Lawn Boy” by Jonathan Evison, which features a gay main character.

Conservatives Push for Bans

Conservative groups like Moms for Liberty have pushed school boards across the country to ban books they disagree with.

Source: Run For Something

They claim certain books are “pornographic” or “inappropriate,” though many educators argue that banning books limits important conversations and prevents students from learning about diversity.

Impact of Book Bans on Students

Book bans deprive students of the opportunity to read about new ideas and gain exposure to different life experiences.

Source: Education Week

They send the message that certain topics or groups of people are shameful or inappropriate to discuss.

A Misguided Defense

Herzberg seems to believe that only his opinion matters when deciding what is appropriate for the community. However, censorship should not be taken lightly or determined by any single person.

Source: Shutterstock/Dmitry Demidovich

His description of the books Lindley aimed to protect as “pornography for children” is misleading and inflammatory.

Why Censorship of Marginalized Voices Is Dangerous

Censorship is problematic in any form, but censoring marginalized voices is especially damaging.

Source: Book Riot

When school boards or public officials scrub mentions of minorities, LGBTQ groups or social justice issues from students’ work or public forums, it sends the message that these groups and their experiences don’t matter.

Who is The Leader?

So, in the end, who really demonstrated leadership here? A high schooler who took initiative, worked hard, and created something positive for her community?

Source: Reddit

Or a school board that seems to value censorship over free thought? This Girl Scout aimed to expand minds and bring people together. The school board aimed to limit and divide.

What do you think?

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Sally Reed

Written by Sally Reed

Sally, a dynamic and viral writer, has taken the literary world by storm with her exceptional storytelling prowess. With an uncanny ability to tap into the collective consciousness of her readers, she crafts narratives that resonate deeply and linger long after the last word is read.

Born with a creative spirit, Sally honed her writing skills from a young age, cultivating a unique voice that blends emotion, wit, and social insight. Her work spans a wide spectrum, from poignant short stories that tug at the heartstrings to thought-provoking essays that challenge conventional thinking.

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