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Dubuque Schools discuss removing some books from curriculum for use of the N-word

Published: May. 18, 2022 at 4:47 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) -The Dubuque Community School District is discussing the removal of certain books from the curriculum for their use of the N-word. The books would still be available to students in the library, but some say the books spark important conversations and should be kept in the classroom.

The books the District is considering removing include To Kill a Mockingbird, Of Mice and Men, and The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. They say students report the books cause them distress when they’re read aloud in class and some students avoid class because of it.

”Art has a long history of discomforting people you know usually to positive ends to make you think about something difficult,” said Corey Creekmur, an Associate Professor at the University of Iowa. Creekmur works in three departments at the University including the Department of English.

”Almost anyone who has read that book or maybe even seen the film from it understands it is an anti-racist text,” he said in regards to the book To Kill a Mockingbird.

Creekmur said the N-word could be omitted in the classroom while the books are still taught.

Caprice Jones is the Executive Director of the Fountain of Youth program in Dubuque, and he’s also a parent.

”If the N-word is a word that’s being read aloud I think that that should, at some point I mean that has to be like edited in a certain way,” Jones said.

While he says the N-word shouldn’t be used, he acknowledged the educational opportunities that can come from the books.

”If the children are feeling dismayed about the books in general, use it as a time to like really educate,” said Jones.

He says parents and children in the district should be a part of the conversation as the District works to figure out what’s next.

You can see a full list of books currently in the curriculum by class here.

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