Biloxi superintendent on “To Kill a Mockingbird” banning
Biloxi Junior High School is in the center of controversy over claims that school administrators have removed “To Kill a Mockingbird” from the book shelves.
The Biloxi Public Schools Superintendent is denying the banning rumors, but does confirm the Pulitzer Prize winning novel isn’t part of the lesson plan anymore.
Biloxi High School graduate Fredrick Smith remembers reading “To Kill a Mockingbird” in school. Smith tells News 25 he can see why a school district would ban the book, but says the novel did teach him some important life lessons. “At one point, you probably should read it during school to learn, but again the N word shouldn’t be really used at all so, it’s like, you know, it differs.”
The decision to pull the book has many readers, teachers, and parents speaking out on the subject, including on Facebook. The school board’s vice president said the district received complaints that some of the book’s language makes people uncomfortable. Head Librarian Sharon Davis said, “”To Kill a Mockingbird” has been banned frequently because of its use of language.”
“To Kill a Mockingbird” was published 57 years ago. It’s one of the most banned books of all. Librarians here say the book is so popular they have a hard time keeping it on the shelves. “It is a wonderful piece of literature, Pulitzer Prize winner, that we feel all of our citizens should have access to,” said Davis.
Superintendent for Biloxi Schools Arthur McMillian tells News 25 the matter is being blown out of proportion. “We decided to use resources and other materials to teach lessons in the second nine weeks and we haven’t done away with the books. Students all have the book.”
McMillian says accelerated reading students can still read “To Kill a Mockingbird” and get graded. His explanation why the book isn’t part of the eighth grade lesson plan anymore: “Every so often we change resources and materials teach state objectives and that’s what we did. Students still have the book.”