Ethics Seminar, May 3, 2023
USCB Hilton Head
Presenter: Hank Noble
Ethics Seminar board chairman Gordon Haist asked the audience to think about potential topics for next year and then introduced Hank Noble for the presentation of the day.
Hank described his preparation as an attempt to “nail Jello to a tree” because of the subject’s tendency to spread in so many directions.
Seeking help from Artificial Intelligence (AI), he quickly got a surprising, comprehensive short history of humans’ attempts to stifle and destroy written material.
Once parents and school staff met to talk about the problem, they agreed that the school would henceforth notify parents when their “smart kids” were given reading material considered more advanced than typically appropriate for their ages so they could opt out if they wished.
Two letters from parents to school officials illustrated the challenge of offering reading material to students from diverse families. One mother asked that her child be protected from information about abortion and homosexuality. The mother of a biracial child whose parents were gay expressed sincere hope that her child would learn to know about and respect “a variety of people.”
Asked to ban 97 books, including Beloved, The Kite Runner and To Kill a Mockingbird, from Beaufort County’s public school libraries, the superintendent removed the books and established a committee to read them and make recommendations on ten at a time.
From the audience came varied comments.
To counter a small committee asking for books to be removed from school libraries, a new organization has recently formed: “Families Against Banning Books.”