Why Are Schools Banning "Fahrenheit 451"?

schools-banning-fahrenheit-451 Credit: Richard Unten/CC-BY 2.0

Parents and teachers have expressed concerns over the language in "Fahrenheit 451" although the book has not been completely banned in schools. The irony of banning "Fahrenheit 451" is that the book itself is about suppressing ideas by destroying books.

In 1992, Venado Middle School teacher Joan Dann assigned "Fahrenheit 451" to her eighth-grade English class but distributed copies with words like "hell" and "damn" blacked out. One student said that Mrs. Dann "believed a story could be told without having those kinds of words in it." Several years before, she asked her students to cross out any profanities they encountered as they read the book, and subsequent classes had been using these censored books.

In 2006, Texas high school sophomore Diana Verm objected to reading "Fahrenheit 451" because "the book had a bunch of very bad language in it...If they can't find a book that uses clean words, they shouldn't have a book at all." Her father, who had not actually read the book, filed a request with the Conroe Independent School District to have it removed from the curriculum, describing the book as "just all kinds of filth," with descriptions of violence, drunkenness, smoking, "dirty talk" and references to the Bible.