There have been calls for the Education Minister to remove To Kill a Mockingbird and Of Mice and Men from the Junior Cert curriculum.
Meath County Councillor Alan Lawes believes they have no place in a child’s education due to repeated use of offensive racial language.
Famed actor Gregory Peck starred in the 1962 big screen adaptation of Harper Lee’s novel To Kill A Mockingbird.
To Kill a Mockingbird and Of Mice and Men are prescribed texts for Junior cycle students. However councillor Lawes has told various media outlets that he hasn’t read either title!
Both are contentious titles today because of their offensive language, depiction of racism, and apparent unsuitability for young people.
They have often appeared on the American Library Association’s list of most challenged books, but their unique and immense place in great literature is unquestioned.
Meath Cllr. Alan Lawes wants them taken off the school curriculum.
He says families have become the target of racist abuse since their children’s classes have read the books.
Mr Lawes says: “You have certain racial slurs that are repeated in these books and their classmates all of a sudden started to use these racial slurs to call them names.”
But Author Eamon Delaney does not think a ban is the way to go: “To censor or clean up the past, which comes from a good instinct, is a false way for looking at our past.”
Direct Provision activist Ellie Kisyombe feels it’s not about erasing history.
Ms Kisyombe says: “I am conflicted about how we should raise these racial issues because I am a black woman, every day I face racism.
“But I want to be surrounded by people in a platform whereby you can understand the issues when I am complaning about receiving it.”
Although conflicted Ellie feels a review of their place in the curriculum is needed and should be carried out.