Silencing Malala: Central York succeeds where Taliban failed

Paul Kettl

The Taliban tried to silence Malala Yousafzai. Only 15 years old, she pleaded for the right for girls to be educated. Responding to her call for girls' education, the Taliban shot her in the head while she was riding a bus home from school. But they failed to silence her. She continued to speak out, becoming the youngest winner ever of the Nobel Peace Prize, and continuing to advocate for girls' education in her autobiography.

The Taliban failed to silence her.

But the Central York School District, at least so far, succeeds where the Taliban failed.

FILE - In this Wednesday, May 29, 2019 file photo, Malala Yousafzai is interviewed ahead of the Cricket World Cup opening party along The Mall in London. Prince Harry and his wife Meghan are joining activist Malala Yousafzai in a video chat about the challenges girls face in accessing education amid the coronavirus pandemic. The couple’s conversation with the 23-year-old education campaigner will be released on the Malala Fund’s YouTube channel and website on Sunday, Oct. 11, 2020 to mark the International Day of the Girl.(AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, file)

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They have silenced Malala’s voice by banning her book. Officially, of course, it is not a “ban," but rather a “review.” So far, it has taken 11 months to “review” the 289 pages advocating education for girls and speaking out for the right to be heard.

I grew up in York, and while I did not attend Central, I graduated from York Catholic and know that York has proud conservative values. Banning books, and silencing speech, is not a conservative value. I am shocked that the Central York School District has decided to support the views of the Taliban that Malala and her thoughts that girls be educated deserve to be silenced. 

As a psychiatrist working at the Veterans’ Administration over the last decade, I spoke with many veterans who fought and were injured in the battles against the Taliban in Afghanistan. One disabled veteran asked, speaking about players kneeling during the National Anthem, “I fought for the right for people to do that. Tell me why they can’t.”

Tell me why the Central York School District sides with the Taliban about Malala’s thoughts and writings.  

Tell me why they do not allow books from authors of color.  

Tell me why children are taught the First Amendment should not be respected.

On second thought, don’t tell me. Tell those who fought, and tell the families of those who died in Afghanistan fighting the Taliban, why Malala should be silenced in the Central York School District.

Paul Kettl