Biloxi (MIss.) district says "To Kill a Mockingbird" will return to eighth-grade classrooms

The district removed the novel from its eighth-grade curriculum after some parents complained about offensive language.

The Biloxi (Miss.) School District has reversed course and will reinstate the novel "To Kill A Mockingbird” to its eighth-grade curriculum.

The Biloxi Sun Herald reports that the district will let students take part in lessons related to the book if they submit a permission slip signed by a parent.

Biloxi Junior High School Principal Scott Powell announced the decision in a letter earlier this week to eighth-grade parents: “As has been stated before, “To Kill A Mockingbird” is not a required read for 8th Grade ELA (English Language Arts) students....However, 8th Grade ELA teachers will offer the opportunity for interested students to participate in an in-depth book study of the novel during regularly scheduled classes as well as the optional after school sessions.” 

Students who don’t want to read “To Kill A Mockingbird” will be given another assignment that keeps them on track for class and state assessments.

The district became the focus of a national public outcry earlier this month when it pulled “To Kill A Mockingbird” from the classroom lesson plan because a parent and grandparent complained it made their child uncomfortable. The Pultizer Prize winning book takes on racism from the perspective of a 10-year-old in a Southern town in the 1930s.

The parents complaining contended that the teacher allowed students to laugh at the use of the N-word in the text and discussions and disagreed with the need for such a racist word in a classroom setting for 13- to 14-year-olds.

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