A Virginia school district is reportedly suspending “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” from classrooms and libraries while a committee investigates racial language in the literary classics.
The N-word appears 219 times in Mark Twain’s “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” and 48 times in Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird.”
A parent filed a formal complaint about the books with Accomack County Public Schools, requesting “reconsideration of learning resources.” According to the district’s policy, the request must go before a committee made up of the student’s principal, librarian, teacher and parent. The committee will then make a recommendation to the superintendent, a local NBC News affiliate reported.
“We have a committee looking at all of this,” Superintendent Chris Holland told The Daily Times. “There’s been no recommendation right now.”
Mr. Holland said there is no set date as to when the recommendation will be made. The decision can also be appealed.
For the time being, Accomack County schools has suspended the use of both novels in both classrooms and libraries, The Daily Times reported.
Marie Rothstein-Williams, a white parent of a biracial child who attends Nandua High School, spoke out against the books during a school board meeting this month.
“I keep hearing ‘This is a classic, this is a classic.’ I understand this is a literature classic but at some point I feel the children will not or do not truly get the classic part, the literature part — which I’m not disputing this is great literature — but there is so much racial slurs in there and offensive wording that you can’t get past that,” she said, The Daily Times reported.
“There’s other literature they can use,” she added. “We’re validating that these words are acceptable and they’re not acceptable by no means.”