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The West Boca Bullseye

The Student News Site of West Boca Raton High School

The West Boca Bullseye

The Student News Site of West Boca Raton High School

The West Boca Bullseye

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How do you censor Shakespeare?

The classic Romeo and Juliet tragedy by the famous playwright William Shakespeare.
The classic Romeo and Juliet tragedy by the famous playwright William Shakespeare.

Romeo and Juliet is a classic tragedy that is consistently read in schools. This play and many more of Shakespeare’s works are being censored. In Hillsborough County, Florida, parts of Romeo and Juliet are being censored. The book is still available in libraries, but for classroom curriculum, teachers are only allowed to assign excerpts.

The Parental Rights in Education Act (FL Bill 1557), an act that has been recently signed by Governor Ron DeSantis, prohibits any topics of sexual nature to be discussed unless it is used in a health class. The law is banning “instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity for grades kindergarten through third grade, and as of July 1 it’s being expanded to cover pre-K through eighth grade” (Maggiore). He considers this law, “woke ideology.” This is also affecting many students in expressing who they are. 

Furthermore, Romeo and Juliet is being banned because the language used insinuated that the leading characters were having premarital sex. These topics are considered inappropriate for educational purposes. 

Shakespeare is basically getting “canceled” in today’s society. 

Students in high school read Romeo and Juliet to understand the universal themes and the emotions that are expressed during the play. Dr. Sonia Massai, a London professor of Shakespeare studies, has reinforced that “‘It is important we are more mindful and approach subjects such as gender, race, and nationality.’” Shakespeare opens up a world of many emotions and thoughts. This play is a piece of history and we are being taught about what an amazing piece this was in 1559. There is no point in removing this selection because with all the technology that children have access to, they can get to the whole Romeo and Juliet play in a matter of seconds.

This is a huge change in Florida schools and I wonder how this will be handled with the English curriculum. 

In fact, a teacher who wants to remain anonymous in Hillsborough County has commented on the ordeal. The first teacher has said “We are teaching Shakespeare, just not in its entirety. Although students will gain exposure to Shakespeare they will miss out on the meat of his work and also additional meanings found within the text.” This is very disappointing for English teachers who have to experience this. Another teacher in Palm Beach County said “Romeo and Juliet should be taught from the viewpoint of looking at the choices of the teenagers and the adults and not as a love story and to look at Shakespeare’s motivation for writing such a play as in who was he really talking about in society at the time?”                                                                                                                                                                Exactly how the teachers said, it isn’t about what’s inappropriate in the book, it’s about the deeper meanings in Shakespeare’s writing. 

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About the Contributor
Hi! I’m Brianna Jarzomkowske and a junior at West Boca. This is my first year with The Bullseye and I am very excited to add my creativity to it! I enjoy watching sports, specifically hockey (Florida Panthers) and football (Chicago Bears). I also love to read romance novels in my free time. I’m really hoping to pursue my dreams of getting either a psychology or computer science degree at University of Miami. I can’t wait for this year! :)

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