Loudouners had a front-row seat over the past week to the misinformation show.
And, boy, how swift and silly it was.
Late last week, emails and chirps started coming in about Loudoun County Public Schools “canceling” Dr. Seuss, whatever that means.
By the weekend, fringe voices were outraged the noted children’s author’s works had been outright banned from LCPS.
Only they hadn’t. Not even close.
Here’s the official Feb. 27 word from LCPS, shown in full, since clearly this is a matter on which people feel free to twist words, if not outright make up mistruths:
“During the past 24 hours, a media rumor is circulating that Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) has banned books written by Theodor Seuss Geisel (Dr. Seuss).
“Dr. Seuss books have not been banned in Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS). LCPS believes this rumor started because March 2 is ‘Read Across America Day.’ Schools in LCPS, and across the country, have historically connected Read Across America Day with Dr. Seuss’ birthday.
“Research in recent years has revealed strong racial undertones in many books written/illustrated by Dr. Seuss. Examples include anti-Japanese American political cartoons and cartoons depicting African Americans for sale captioned with offensive language.
“Given this research, and LCPS’ focus on equity and culturally responsive instruction, LCPS provided this guidance to schools during the past couple of years to not connect Read Across America Day exclusively with Dr. Seuss’ birthday. We continue to encourage our young readers to read all types of books that are inclusive, diverse and reflective of our student community, not simply celebrate Dr. Seuss. Dr. Seuss books have not been banned and are available to students in our libraries and classrooms, however, Dr. Seuss and his books are no longer the emphasis of Read Across America Day in Loudoun County Public Schools.”
In short, Dr. Seuss is not banned in Loudoun County Public Schools. The school system is simply placing an emphasis on “all types of books that are inclusive, diverse and reflective of [the LCPS] student community.” Dr. Seuss’ works can still be found in school and classroom libraries.
We’re at a loss for how celebrating diverse and inclusive literature amounts to “canceling” anything. Probably because it doesn’t. We further wonder how bolstering and reaffirming various viewpoints and perspectives is problematic. Is that not what a well-rounded public education should be all about?
Were the late Geisel’s books indeed banned from LCPS, you could count us among the disapproving crowd. But it simply didn’t happen, and the falsehood had spread frighteningly far before the facts gained the same traction – if they ever did.
It’s a sad day when adults can’t separate fact from fiction. And it is a problem that, exasperatingly, only seems to be getting worse. Our admittedly self-serving suggestion? Pick up a local newspaper and turn off the cable news.