‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ Is Axed From 8th Grade Lessons At The Biloxi School District In Mississippi

The classic book To Kill A Mockingbird is once again being banned, with 8th graders at the Biloxi School District in Mississippi told that they will no longer be using the book for their curriculum in their English Language Arts class. This comes after complaints were made about some of the language in the book, according to vice president of the school board Kenny Holloway.

“There were complaints about it. There is some language in the book that makes people uncomfortable, and we can teach the same lesson with other books.”

To Kill A Mockingbird will still remain on the shelves of the library, as Holloway pointed out, but won’t make it into any 8th grade lessons at the Biloxi School District.

“It’s still in our library. But they’re going to use another book in the 8th grade course.”

The Sun Herald has reported that the decision to remove To Kill A Mockingbird from class lessons last week was not one that the school board technically voted for and approved, but was an administrative choice instead.

Arthur McMillan, the Biloxi School District superintendent, issued a statement and explained that there were other books he felt were equally suitable for 8th grade lessons and which still meet the same standards.

“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.”

Harper Lee, author of 'To Kill A Mockingbird', with George Bush in 2007.

According to the Sun Herald, the publication received an e-mail detailing exactly what happened and why the Biloxi School District decided to ban To Kill A Mockingbird from its classes. This decision was allegedly made “mid-lesson plan” and came about “due to the use of the ‘N’ word.”

The concerned citizen who e-mailed also explained that they felt in today’s political climate the lessons imparted in the book are more valuable and relevant than ever, which is why its censorship is so shocking.

“I think it is one of the most disturbing examples of censorship I have ever heard, in that the themes in the story humanize all people regardless of their social status, education level, intellect, and of course, race. It would be difficult to find a time when it was more relevant than in days like these.”

The Biloxi School District’s website had reportedly stated that 8th grade students would be reading To Kill A Mockingbird so that they could learn that traits like empathy and compassion should not have anything to do with an individual’s education or their race. The book had previously been listed as part of the Common Core for English Language Arts.

Also on the website is an 8th grade teacher who explained that in their point of view the book was “compassionate, dramatic and deeply moving.”

To Kill A Mockingbird was put on a list by The American Library Association of books that have been banned, and the book currently ranks at number 21 in their list.

What do you think about the Biloxi School District in Mississippi taking To Kill A Mockingbird off their 8th grade curriculum and do you agree or disagree with their decision?

[Featured Image by Tim Boyle/Getty Images]