Katelynn Medley ‘20: The ninth grade reading requirement, To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee, is beginning to be banned from school districts across the country. Some students and teachers are claiming that since the book consists of racial slurs and discussion of rape, it makes students uncomfortable. Other students and teachers claim that the lack of comfort is the purpose of the book and necessary for students to consider the themes throughout the novel.
Rich Boggio, a freshman language arts teacher at Romeo High School, has a very distinct opinion upon banning To Kill A Mockingbird.
“I disagree with the banning of To Kill A Mockingbird,” Rich Boggio, an English teacher at Romeo High School said. “I can understand why, because the book can make students feel uncomfortable, especially in different regions of the country, but I think the book opens up the classroom to having more discussions.”
Boggio believes that literature is intended to bring out different emotions and questions throughout students. Meaning that To Kill A Mockingbird, causes an awkward tension among students which can be very beneficial.
“I think that literature should make you think and bring out other emotions,” Boggio said. “If it’s making students uncomfortable the question is why, I think their are probably a lot of great discussions and that if students are feeling like this, it becomes a teachable moment. You want your students to think, and if the literature drives thought, question, or emotion I think it’s a good thing. I think it can be very beneficial for students, if approached delicately. You don’t want your students to feel uncomfortable, you need to recognize that and address it in order to gain from the book.”
Students at Romeo typically enjoy reading and analyzing To Kill A Mockingbird.
“I loved the book To Kill A Mockingbird,” Johnny Verellen ‘18 said. “The typical reading during school is boring, but this had deeper meanings and it was great discussion throughout class. I’m surprised schools would be banning such a useful book for students.”
The English teachers here at Romeo wouldn’t want to give up teaching To Kill A Mockingbird, due to the numerous benefits the novel offers for students education.
“I enjoy teaching To Kill A Mockingbird,” Boggio said. “I think it’s a great piece of literature and I think students can learn from it. It’s very well written and has great symbolism. Harper crafted a really good book there. Overall, most students say it’s definitely one they remember. There has never really been any complaints about the book and if so, they were minor.”
As of now, Romeo curriculum has no intentions on banning To Kill A Mockingbird. The Romeo English staff believes students will benefit from the criteria, making it a necessity for high school reading.