Two classic American novels pulled over racial slurs in a Virginia school system after a parent complained are returning to the shelves.
Accomack County Public Schools in Virginia removed classic novels “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” from the curricula, classrooms and libraries in the school system Nov. 29 after a parent complained the content is racist. The school board voted Tuesday to bring the historic books back to their classrooms and will launch a review of how they respond to complaints over content, reports NBC Washington.
The school board said the books contained “offensive and hurtful” language, but added “teachers have a wonderful talent for conveying the bigger meanings and messages in literature.” The parent who complained said she has a biracial son who found a page with a number of racial slurs difficult to read.
Racial slurs crop up 48 times in “To Kill a Mockingbird” and 219 times in “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.” Major publishing companies note they get numerous requests to change or censor language in these books each year, but always refuse.
“Being uncomfortable with history is not means to change it,” Chris Sergel, vice president of Dramatic Publishing, told PBS . “People need to figure out how to confront issues.”
While some parents in Accomack County said they agreed with the unidentified parent’s sentiment regarding racial slurs used in the books, many others in the community opposed a ban, expressing confusion at the outrage over two books that have been mainstays of school literature for decades.
“Everybody’s read it … it didn’t change a difference in my views at all,” Catherine Glaser told WAVY. “I’d like my son to read those books … my daughter’s mixed, and I don’t have a problem with it, I love those books.”
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