Classic novels pulled from some Virginia schools

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ACCOMAC, Va. (WAVY) — Two classic American novels have been temporarily pulled from book shelves in Accomack County Public Schools.

Superintendent Warren Holland confirmed to 10 On Your Side that a parent filed a complaint about “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.”

Earlier this month, a parent voiced concerns to the school board about racial slurs in both of the novels.

“Right now, we are a nation divided as it is,” the mother is heard saying in an audio recording of the meeting on Nov. 15. She tells the board that her biracial son, a high school student, struggled getting through a page that was riddled with a racial slur.

“So what are we teaching our children? We’re validating that these words are acceptable, and they are not acceptable by any means,” the parent said.

Victoria Coombs, a mother of two, told 10 On Your Side she agrees that books with offensive racial slurs should not be read in schools.

“It’s not right to put that in a book, let alone read that to a child,” she said.

But other Accomack County residents told 10 On Your Side that banning a classic for offensive language can be a slippery slope.

“I don’t want to see it happen because if you start with one racial word in a book and have to go on and on and on and pretty soon you’ll be burning books left and right,” R. Kellam said.

“Everybody’s read it… it didn’t change a difference in my views at all,” Catherine Glaser said. “I’d like my son to read those books… my daughter’s mixed, and I don’t have a problem with it, I love those books.”

Glaser’s kids may still get a chance to read the novels in Accomack County.

The complaint filed was made as “a request for reconsideration of learning resources.”

Per the school’s policy, the request will now go before a committee made up of a principal, librarian, teacher, parent and potentially others. The committee will then make a recommendation to the superintendent.

Holland said that there is no set date as to when the recommendation will be made. The decision can be appealed.

The policy is available online under “KLB.”

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