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Keep 'Of Mice and Men' in the curriculum

Offensive words and phrases in John Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men” raised concern from two parents in the Brainerd School District this month, and prompted an interesting discussion involving literature, race and language.

Two parents objected to the use of “Jesus Christ” as a curse word, as well as the use of the n-word to describe blacks and the term “Japs.” They argued this type of language undermines the values of respect they try to instill in their children and should be pulled from the curriculum.

Two other parents argued that a book should not be pulled from the classroom because individuals find it offensive or misunderstand the book’s true intent.

The Brainerd School District’s Resource Selection Committee unanimously voted to keep the book in the curriculum and that motion is scheduled to be on consent agenda at the next Brained School Board meeting. Objections to proposal could be heard at that time.

The Resource Selection Committee made the right decision and the school board should support the book’s inclusion in the curriculum. The key factor to remember is that parents and students who object to the language may choose an alternate Steinbeck book, “The Pearl.” Not reading “Of Mice and Men” might be the right decision for individual families but their objections shouldn’t deprive other students from reading the book.

Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
I've worked at the Brainerd Dispatch with various duties since Dec. 7, 1983. Starting off as an Ad Designer and currently Director of Audience Development. The Dispatch has been an interesting and challenging place to work. I'm fortunate to have made many friends, both co-workers and customers.
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