A group of progressive teachers fought to “prohibit” Harper Lee’s novel “To Kill a Mockingbird” from being assigned in classroom curriculum amid left-wing criticism of parents protesting sexually explicit books in school.
The Washington Post published a report on Friday about how the educators from Washington’s Mukilteo School District battled to “protect students from a book they saw as outdated and harmful.”
The Pulitzer Prize–winning book “To Kill a Mockingbird” follows the story of a young girl growing up in the American South during the Great Depression as her father defends a Black man unjustly accused of raping a White woman, leading to both legal and physical confrontations.
The four teachers, according to The Post, “launched a years-long quest to prohibit any teacher in the largely liberal Mukilteo School District from assigning ‘Mockingbird.’ And it started with a formal book challenge in late 2021 — the first in 20 years, and the first ever to come from teachers.”
“To Kill A Mockingbird centers on whiteness,” the teachers wrote in their formal challenge to the book being required in the school curriculum, also claiming that “it presents a barrier to understanding and celebrating an authentic Black point of view in Civil Rights era literature and should be removed.”
A committee eventually voted in favor of removing the book from the ninth-grade required list for the school district, while still keeping it on the approved novels list, a decision eventually supported by the school board.
The outcome was not entirely to the satisfaction of the teachers who pushed to oust the book completely.
“Each said it’s a good thing all freshmen no longer have to read the book,” The Post wrote. “Each said they think students will be harmed because the book remains as a teaching option.”
The Post article noted that while most battles over books in schools are led by conservatives, these teachers felt their cause was “necessary” and “urgent.”
“Around the country, book challengers mostly came from the right. But in Mukilteo, the progressive teachers who complained about the novel saw themselves as part of an urgent national reckoning with racism, a necessary reconsideration of what we value, teach and memorialize following the killing of George Floyd,” The Post summarized. “They weren’t asking to pull the book from the library — just to stop forcing it on students. They believed they were protecting children.”
The irony of progressives pushing to entirely oust a book from the curriculum was not lost on conservative commentators.
Many responded by juxtaposing how conservative concerns about sexually explicit material are framed compared to progressive concerns about sensitivities over “classic novels.”
“Liberals are banning ‘To Kill A Mockingbird.’ Conservatives are restricting pornography. We are not the same,” Chris Rufo, a critic of far-left radicalism in education, posted on X, formerly known as Twitter.
“When conservatives call for removing pornography from schools, they get accused of ‘banning books,’” 1776 Project PAC noted. “When left-wing teachers ban classic novels like To Kill a Mockingbird, they get praised by the media.”
When conservatives call for removing pornography from schools, they get accused of “banning books.”When left-wing teachers ban classic novels like To Kill a Mockingbird, they get praised by the media. https://t.co/cfhPNJeY7G
— 1776 Project PAC (@1776ProjectPac) November 3, 2023
“Getting rid of gay porn is ‘banning books’ but actually banning a classic novel like To Kill a Mockingbird is ‘protecting students,’” Greg Price of the State Freedom Caucus Network wrote, mocking the narrative in The Post story.
“Is this a book ban? Please advise,” The Spectator contributing editor Stephen L. Miller quipped.
“Just think about the absurd left-wing logic here: Parents opposed to actual pornography in school libraries want to ‘ban books’ but it’s ‘protecting students from outdated and harmful’ material if they ban them from reading To Kill a Mockingbird,” Texas Youth Summit founder Christian Collins wrote.
Twitchy’s Doug Powers posted: “When the Left does it they’re ‘protecting students’ and when the Right keeps p*rn off middle school bookshelves they’re ‘banning books.’”
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