(CNSNews.com) – Accomack County Public Schools in Virginia has temporarily suspended study of the novels To Kill a Mockingbird and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn after a parent filed a complaint that the classic literature contained “racial slurs”.
During a November 15 school board meeting, Marie Rothstein-Williams said that her biracial son, who is in high school, struggled to get through a page that contained multiple racial slurs.
“I keep hearing 'This is a classic, this is a classic,' she said. “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.
“Right now, we are a nation divided as it is,” she continued. "I teach my son he is the best of both worlds, and I do not want him to feel otherwise....It's not just even a black and white thing. ...There's other literature they can use....
“So what are we teaching our children? We’re validating that these words are acceptable, and they're not acceptable, by no means."
Rothstein-Williams’ complaint will be filed as a “Request for Reconsideration of Learning Resources” under the school district’s policy manual. “The material will then be reviewed by a committee that will consist of the principal, the library media specialist, the classroom teacher (if involved), a parent and/or student, and the complainant.”
The committee will then make a final recommendation to the principal and superintendent to either continue to use or withdraw the novels in question from the curriculum.
The Accomack County School’s Policy Manual also states that all materials cited in the complaint must be suspended until a final determination is made. The complainant may appeal the committee’s decision.
However, not all parents agreed with the school district’s decision to suspend study of the classic novels, which explore issues surrounding race in America.
“Everybody’s read it… it didn’t change a difference in my views at all,” Catherine Glaser, a Accomack County resident, told WAVY-TV. “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.”
The Pulitzer Prize-winning To Kill a Mockingbird was written in 1960 by Harper Lee, who passed away in February, The main character, a lawyer named Atticus Finch, is picked to defend Tom Robinson, a black man who has been falsely accused of raping a young white women in a town in the Deep South, leading to Finch being despised by other whites in the community.
The plot of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, which was written by Mark Twain in 1885, revolves around the central character, Huck, and an escaped slave, Jim, who travel down the Mississippi River together in a raft.
An analysis of the novel describes Jim as “a noble human being and a loyal friend,” the “only real adult in the novel, and the only one who provides a positive, respectable example for Huck to follow.”