From the Duluth News Tribune:
The novels “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” will no longer be required reading in the Duluth school district due to the books’ use of a racial slur, a curriculum change supported by the local NAACP chapter.
The two books will continue to be available in school libraries and can be optional reading for students, but beginning next school year, they’ll be replaced as required reading by other literature that addresses the same topics in ninth- and 11th-grade English classes, said Michael Cary, the district’s director of curriculum and instruction.
There wasn’t a specific complaint that triggered the decision, but it was a response to complaints about the books’ use of a racial slur that the district has faced for a number of years, Cary said. Superintendent Bill Gronseth said the Duluth school district was hearing from students that the book’s use of a racial slur created an uncomfortable atmosphere for them in the classroom.
Bernie Burnham, president of the Duluth Federation of Teachers, said the district’s English teachers are concerned that they weren’t consulted before the decision was finalized. However, the teachers understand the need to be sensitive to their students, she said.
Cary said the decision was kept between district and school administration because it was about “protecting the dignity of our students.”
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