Parent discusses concern over To Kill a Mockingbird - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Parent discusses concern over To Kill a Mockingbird

Williams and her mother Jessica Williams were not happy when their student came home and shared with them what was happening in her class when discussing To Kill a Mockingbird. (Image Source: WLOX News) Williams and her mother Jessica Williams were not happy when their student came home and shared with them what was happening in her class when discussing To Kill a Mockingbird. (Image Source: WLOX News)
To Kill a Mockingbird is no longer required reading for 8th graders in the Biloxi school system and parent Yolanda Williams is supportive of that decision. (Image Source: WLOX News) To Kill a Mockingbird is no longer required reading for 8th graders in the Biloxi school system and parent Yolanda Williams is supportive of that decision. (Image Source: WLOX News)
BILOXI, MS (WLOX) -

To Kill a Mockingbird is no longer required reading for 8th graders in the Biloxi school system.

Yolanda Williams is supportive of that decision.

"If a parent wants their child to read it, that's fine, but I don't think it should be required reading for everybody,” said Yolonda Williams, parent of a student at Biloxi Junior High School. 

Williams and her mother Jessica Williams were not happy when their student came home and shared what happened in her class discussion of To Kill a Mockingbird.

“The students were saying racial slurs out loud, laughing, and her response was 'what are you laughing at',” said Williams.

Both of the women went before the Biloxi school board tonight to explain why they were upset about the required reading.

“It's offensive and uncomfortable is not the word,” said Williams.

Biloxi Schools Superintendent Arthur McMillan released a statement at the meeting addressing a claim that the school was practicing censorship by removing the book from the reading list, but McMillan's statement said this:

This decision to change resources did not violate any policy because the book has not been removed from our school.

Williams says she's pleased with the school board's decision to make the book optional for the students.

“It really shouldn't have been in the eighth grade at all, in my opinion, because it talks about rape, lies about rape, to me that's more of a college level, that way they can dive more and actually talk more about it. Eighth grade they don't understand that. They're not mature. They're not ready,” said Williams. 

The student's grandmother feels the book created a racial divide amongst the students.

“This is a community when we have people from everywhere, because it is military. We must all work together. We live in the same communities, and it just does not make sense,” said Jessica Williams. 

The ACLU of Mississippi responded to the school district's decision to remove the book. Their statement says in part:

"In a state like Mississippi, where we continue to deal with racial injustices and discrimination even today, it is critical that our students have the opportunity to engage on the themes presented in To Kill a Mockingbird. Discussing these themes encourages critical thinking among our youth, and, ultimately, impacts behavior that is just and fair to all."

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