‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ in the hot seat at WA school district – Crosscut – DC Initiative on Racial Equity
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Three teachers at Kamiak High School made the request in the fall to remove Lee’s iconic novel from the required ninth grade curriculum, said Monica Chandler, the district’s director of curriculum and professional development. The book will not be not banned, however, and teachers may still choose to assign the book in their classrooms.

The teachers’ objections to the book included criticism that Black characters are not fully realized and that the book romanticizes the idea of a “white savior.” 

The teachers also cited concerns that characters in the book frequently use the N-word while no character explains that the slur is derogatory, and that the word and the portrayal of Black characters cause harm to students of color.

At a school board meeting earlier this month, Verena Kuzmany, a teacher at Kamiak, questioned the “romanticization” of the book as a “cherished classic.”

“We need to examine carefully … whose collective memory we are upholding,” she said.

The district’s instructional materials committee agreed with the teachers about removing To Kill a Mockingbird from the ninth grade required reading list, but voted to allow teachers to continue to use it in their lesson plans.

That committee, made up of teachers and community members, approves all curricula in Mukilteo schools, assessing every textbook, including language arts, math, science and social studies. The criteria include grade appropriateness, how the material fits other textbooks and whether the textbook

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