School District Bans "To Kill a Mockingbird"

Posted: Oct 15, 2017 12:40 PM

The Biloxi, Mississippi school district has banned the American classic To Kill a Mockingbird after receiving complaints from parents due its racist language.

“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," said vice president of the Biloxi School Board, Kenny Holloway. Adding, “It’s still in our library. But they’re going to use another book in the 8th grade course.”

Biloxi Superintendent Arthur McMillan issued a statement on the matter.

“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.”

Twitter, of course, was quick to respond to this act of censorship.

This is not the first time Harper Lee's 1960 novel was banned after complaints from a parent. Recently, in 2015 a Virginia school district banned the book for use of the n-word as well. The book deals with racism in the deep south during the 1930s as well as mature sexual themes such as rape. 

Despite being ranked one of the top books of the 20th century, it has also received some of the most scrutiny. According to the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom, the book published by  Dramatic Publishing is one of the most banned books of all time. There have been dozens and dozens of attempts to ban the book. 

Chris Sergel, president of Dramatic, says he often receives requests to change or alter certain words in the book. “Being uncomfortable with history is not means to change it,” Sergel said. “People need to figure out how to confront issues.”

In 1966, Hanover County School District board in Virginia voted unanimously to ban the book. That action garnered the following letter from the author.

Editor, The News Leader:

Recently I have received echoes down this way of the Hanover County School Board's activities, and what I've heard makes me wonder if any of its members can read.

Surely it is plain to the simplest intelligence that "To Kill a Mockingbird" spells out in words of seldom more than two syllables a code of honor and conduct, Christian in its ethic, that is the heritage of all Southerners. To hear that the novel is "immoral" has made me count the years between now and 1984, for I have yet to come across a better example of doublethink.

I feel, however, that the problem is one of illiteracy, not Marxism. Therefore I enclose a small contribution to the Beadle Bumble Fund that I hope will be used to enroll the Hanover County School Board in any first grade of its choice.

Harper Lee