Washington school board drops 'To Kill A Mockingbird' from curriculum: 'To remove it is racist'

Many social media users slammed the decision to scrap Harper Lee's classic from the curriculum, saying it's an important piece of work that raises awareness about racism


                            Washington school board drops 'To Kill A Mockingbird' from curriculum: 'To remove it is racist'
Harper Lee's iconic novel, published in 1960, was read in high schools and middle schools (Tim Boyle/Getty Images and Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

A Washington school board has removed ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ book from its 9th-grade curriculum after complaints that it was racially sensitive. Reportedly, the move had the support of the district’s superintendent.

The book, however, will be available in the school's library. Teachers could still assign the classic if they chose. At a board meeting this week, parents, teachers, and students expressed their dissent against requiring students to read the book.

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“It was clear from the comments received that there are many legitimate and thoughtful opinions about this novel and its place in school curriculum,” district spokesperson Diane Bradford said. “The students who shared their experiences and thoughts with the board were especially compelling in their reasoning that there are other novels that can teach similar literary conventions and themes without causing further harm to students.”

What is 'To Kill A Mockingbird' about?

Harper Lee's iconic novel, published in 1960, was read in high schools and middle schools. With the Great Depression in the backdrop, the story is narrated by six-year-old Jean Louise Finch, or Scout. Scout lives in the fictional town of Maycomb with her brother Jem and widowed father Atticus Finch -- a middle-aged lawyer. 

Atticus is appointed to defend Tom Robinson, a Black man accused of raping a young White woman. Despite the disapproval of many of Maycomb's citizens, he tries to defend Tom to the best of his abilities to prove that he is innocent. During Atticus' struggle to give him justice, Tom tries to flee and is shot dead. 

In its dialogue, the n-word is used various times, but very realistically. The story outlines several other incidents and analyzes various characters, and reveals the horrifying structural racism in the community. Atticus says at one point in the novel, "As you grow older, you’ll see white men cheat black men every day of your life, but let me tell you something and don’t you forget it—whenever a white man does that to a black man, no matter who he is, how rich he is, or how fine a family he comes from, that white man is trash."

Many social media users slammed the decision to scrap the classic from the curriculum, saying it's an important piece of work that raises awareness about racism. "This is sad. I love this story. How can showing the results of prejudice, be it for skin color or mentally impaired, be offensive to anyone?" one user wrote. Another wrote, "To Kill a Mockingbird is a timeless classic written to raise awareness about racism! To remove it is actually racist."



 



 

"Mukilteo school board votes to remove ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ from required reading list This book single-handedly turned me from an occasional reader into an avid reader. In ninth grade no less. This is frightening and disgraceful" one user said, while another commented, "Washington school board removes ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ from curriculum due to racial sensitivity #SmartNews WOW! THEY ARE SO AFRAID THEIR KIDS WILL LEARN HOW HORRIBLE WE WHITE PEOPLE HAVE TREATED BLACK AMERICANS!"



 

 



 

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