A school district in Mississippi decided to remove To Kill A Mockingbird from its curriculum because the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, which deals with issues of race and civil rights, made people uncomfortable.
The Biloxi, Miss. district’s decision to stop assigning the acclaimed book by Harper Lee last week has revived a debate of censorship across the country. School administrators and faculty have not specified with prompted them to remove To Kill a Mockingbird from the eighth grade reading list, the Sun Herald reports.
“There were complaints about it,” school board’s Vice president Kenny Holloway told the Sun Herald. “There is some language in the book that makes people uncomfortable, and we can teach the same lesson with other books.”
To Kill A Mockingbird has been one of the most consistently challenged or banned books since its release in 1960, according to the American Library Association’s list of censorship attempts. A number of those instances were over Lee’s use of a racial slur about black people.
Holloway added the book would remain in the school library, but the eighth graders would study another book in place of the 45-day Mockingbird lesson plan. Biloxi superintendent Arthur McMillan said the school teaching materials “may change periodically, according to a statement obtained by the Sun Herald.
The decision has been met with widespread backlash with many taking to Twitter to express their outrage.
Arne Duncan, President Obama’s former secretary of education, rallied support on Twitter for reading To Kill a Mockingbird.
And Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse wrote on Twitter that students are “tough enough to read a real book.”