Should ‘Mockingbird’ be censored in today’s schools?

Should 'Mockingbird' be censored in today's schools?

Ivy Hamblen, Staff writer

De Pere High School’s English classes read the infamous novel To Kill A Mockingbird, as do countless other high schools.

The novel is known for uncovering nasty, uncomfortable truths about the racial discrimination in America’s history.  Used as an opportunity to teach history along with the literary elements, the prize-winning novel has been raising eyebrows at Shorewood High School, located just north of Milwaukee.

The novel is recognized for its story, but more so for the controversy it sparks in schools.

Many schools ban the reading of To Kill A Mockingbird for its racially charged and discriminatory content, specifically the use of the offensive N-word slur, and like DPHS, Shorewood’s English classes use the novel to teach, with no protest.

However, their planned fall play of To Kill a Mockingbird was cancelled before the opening showing on Oct. 12.

Aidan Rogan, grade 11, thinks that the planning process was probably a long winded ordeal, and recognizes that many factors must have played a part in the choice of the play. However, he believes rather than choose such a controversial play, the school must have had plenty of alternatives.

Given that Shorewood chose To Kill A Mockingbird, and was ready to be performed hours before the original cancellation, Aidan said that “censoring the controversial language,” would have been a much better idea.

Aidan also thinks the compromise – a performance for family only – was acceptable considering the amount of backlash from students and parents alike.

On the other hand, junior Madi Lawler disagreed with the cancellation of the play. Her idea was rather than cancel the play, students and parents just shouldn’t go if they don’t agree with the content.

“I think they should do it, the whole point is to make people uncomfortable,” Madi said. “It should make people change. Ignorance isn’t always bliss.”