Photo credits: John Lamparski for Getty Images
A school district in America’s poorest, most illiterate, and probably most racist state has controversially banned a historical book from its entire junior high school reading curriculum.
According to a recent report published in Biloxi, Mississippi’s Sun Herald newspaper, the city of Biloxi’s public school district has banned eighth-graders from reading To Kill a Mockingbird in all of its English Language Arts classes. This districtwide literature ban reportedly went into effect on either October 11th or 12th.
The Biloxi public school district’s school board reached a unanimous vote on this matter prior to the book ban officially becoming standard policy. Arthur McMillan, the Superintendent of Biloxi Public Schools released a statement to the Sun Herald after a newspaper reporter asked him whether or not the book ban was official.
“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,” Superintendent McMillan said in his statement to the media.
However, McMillan refused to answer any questions about the ban or offer any other specifics. Many people, including teachers who work for Biloxi Public Schools feel as though the ban is an unwarranted disservice to students, which forces them to miss out on an honest and sobering story about race and human behavior in America.
Written by the late legendary author Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird is a classic offering of American literature that changed the way numerous generations view issues of racial inequality, gender relations, and social class. Lee’s book was published in 1960 and earned her the coveted Pulitzer Prize.
Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird has also sold over 18 million copies to date. Supporters of the book’s ban by the Biloxi public school district have claimed that the book repeatedly uses the n-word. However, in order to accurately tell a story about a Southern town during the Great Depression, a realistic tone is needed to harken one back to the reality of that era.