In response to left-wing criticism of parents opposing sexually explicit literature in the classroom, a group of progressive educators pushed to “prohibit” Harper Lee’s novel “To Kill a Mockingbird” from being offered in classroom curricula.
On Friday, The Washington Post reported on the district’s teachers in Mukilteo, Washington, and their fight to “protect students from a book they saw as outdated and harmful.”
The protagonist of Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize–winning novel “To Kill a Mockingbird” is a little girl growing up in the American South during the Great Depression, when her father defends a Black man falsely accused of raping a White lady, leading to legal and physical conflicts.
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.”
The book was removed from the ninth grade compulsory list by a committee’s vote, but it was kept on the authorized novels list. This decision was approved by the school board.
The conclusion did not please all the educators who had fought to have the book banned.
“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.”
“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.’”