Montgomery County (MD) educators are replacing a lesson that called for students to read about and discuss a racial epithet against African Americans as a precursor to reading "To Kill a Mockingbird" in ninth-grade English classes.
The lesson, called "Questionable Words," focused on two reading selections, an essay and a poem, each dealing with the epithet and how the author was hurt by its use. Curriculum officials reexamined the lesson after an African American student told the school board in the fall that the class had upset her.
"What we heard from enough community members and some teachers is that it's sensitive, it's emotionally charged," said Betsy Brown, curriculum director for Montgomery schools. "And if we have a lesson that could be misused and cause real hurt to a few or to a whole classroom of kids, then maybe we need to change it."
The complaint from Maya Jean-Baptiste, a 15-year-old at Quince Orchard High School in Gaithersburg, marks a departure from the usual protest of racially insensitive language in classroom literature. Most often, someone seeks to ban a book; Mark Twain's "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" is a perennial target. In this case, the student objected to an introductory lesson whose purpose was to prepare her for the racist language in the book...
This from the Washington Post.