A committee formed to review the challenge on To Kill a Mockingbird in Monona Grove school district, voted 4-1 to recommend retaining the classic. The book was challenged by a concerned parent who felt the work was not so seminal as to overlook the 48 racial slurs, and outdated white savior narrative.
Romar Nelson, a parent and member of the deciding committee, told local news ”I think it’s important that the children have an opportunity to have a conversation about the history of the country and how they can change, perhaps, the future.”
While this is a definitive victory for the students’ First Amendment rights, hopefully the complaint has raised more lasting questions about the school’s lack of diversity in its curriculum. The parent who lodged the complaint brought to light that To Kill a Mockingbird is the only book taught that deals with racism, and there are no authors of color taught.
This verdict is especially important on the heels of Duluth school district pulling the Harper Lee classic off the required reading list as well as The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn over the presence of racial slurs. National Coalition Against Censorship, of which CBLDF is a part, opposed the decision and issued a statement regarding the importance of acknowledging and addressing racism, and how the texts help educators do so.