Two classic novels returning to Accomack schools following vote

ACCOMAC, Va. (WAVY) — Accomack County Public Schools announced Tuesday that “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” and “To Kill a Mockingbird” will immediately returned to school library shelves.

The books were temporarily suspended on November 29, after a complaint was filed.

During a November school board meeting, a parent expressed concerns about the novels’ use of offensive racial slurs. School policy, listed here under “KLB,” dictated the books be temporarily removed from circulation following the complaint.

Classic novels pulled from Accomack County Public Schools

Students, parents and community members gathered outside the Accomack County courthouse last week to protest the temporary ban. Many attendees signed a petition launched by a high school student to keep the books in the county’s schools.

Accomack County group protests temporary ban on classic novels

The Accomack County School Board voted on Tuesday to permanently reinstate the two novels.

“These novels are treasures of American literature and inspirational, timeless stories of conscience and bravery,” said Dr. Ronnie E. Holden, Chairman of the Accomack County School Board. “We agree that some of the language used is offensive and hurtful. Fortunately, Accomack County’s excellent teachers and media center specialists have a wonderful talent for conveying the bigger meanings and messages of literature.”

The school board also decided to form a new committee that will reexamine its policy for books after receiving complaints about content. The current policy mandates that books are first removed from school shelves after a complaint before any further action can be taken. Holden said a new policy would give the superintendent discretion to keep challenged books on library shelves while they are reviewed.

The school board says they chose to return the books at the first chance after the complaint was made.

Accomack Superintendent Chris Holland said the parent who originally filed the complaint didn’t ask that the books be banned, but wanted a larger selection of diverse reading materials for students, which Holland supports.

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