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'To Kill a Mockingbird' will be removed from ninth-grade required reading list in Mukilteo

The Mukilteo School District received a request to remove the book from the district's curriculum over racial concerns.

MUKILTEO, Wash. — "To Kill a Mockingbird" will be removed from the Mukilteo School District's ninth-grade English/Language Arts required reading list.

The Mukilteo School Board unanimously approved a resolution Monday night to remove the novel from the curriculum. The novel remains on the district-approved list and is not banned. 

The recommendation to the school board follows concerns from at least one parent that the classic novel is racially insensitive.

District Superintendent Dr. Alison Brynelson supported the removal of the novel from the required curriculum, according to the Jan. 24 school board agenda

Written more than six decades ago, "To Kill a Mockingbird" tells the racially-charged story of a Black man wrongly accused of raping a white woman. It won the Pulitzer Prize and is studied in high schools across the country. 

Mukilteo received one request to remove the book from the district's curriculum saying the "n-word" is used more than 50 times with no context about its negative connotations.

The complaint also states that the book marginalizes characters of color and celebrates the notion of "white saviorhood."

Supporters of the book say removing it from required reading would set a dangerous precedent about censorship. They believe the themes about racism are still very relevant for students. They also claim teaching books like "To Kill a Mockingbird" encourages critical thinking.

The recommended change was proposed by the Instructional Materials Committee. The committee is comprised of about 20 teachers, librarians, administrators and parents. About 63% voted to remove the book from the required reading list. However, 68% also voted not to remove the book from the approved novels list.

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