After getting complaints about the wording in “To Kill A Mockingbird” — a classic American novel being taught in eighth-grade English Language Arts classes — the Biloxi (Miss.) School District has pulled it from the curriculum.
The Biloxi Sun Herald reports that the action was an administrative and department decision and not something that the school board voted on.
“There were complaints about it," says School Board Vice President Kenny Holloway. "There is some language in the book that makes people uncomfortable, and we can teach the same lesson with other books."
Asked whether the book had been pulled from the curriculum, Superintendent Arthur McMillan issued a statement: “There are many resources and materials that are available to teach state academic standards to our students. These resources may change periodically. We always strive to do what is best for our students and staff to continue to perform at the highest level.”
As the news spread about the district's decision, people across the nation and the world criticized Biloxi school officials.
One commenter on Twitter said, “Many people are saying the fact that the book makes people ‘uncomfortable’ is exactly why it needs to be taught.”
The Sun Herald reported last week that it received a email from a reader who said the decision was made “mid-lesson plan...the students will not be allowed to finish the reading of ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’....due to the use of the ‘N’ word.”
The book is listed on the curriculum as core text for eighth-grade English Language Arts.
The novel, written by Harper Lee, was published in 1960, The plot deals with rape and racial inequality in a small Southern town. It won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction and was adapted into an Oscar-winning film in 1962.
The American Library Association lists “To Kill A Mockingbird” as No. 21 in the most banned or challenged books in the last decade.