Offended By School

Districts Attempt to Make Schools Less Offensive


Freshman (first-year) Lizzy Salata holds Harper Lee’s book “To Kill a Mockingbird,” which she read last year.

Harley Johnson, Editor-in-Chief

A book read by eighth graders at Northmont Middle School has been banned from a Mississippi school district reading list.

The Biloxi, Mississippi school district got rid of Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird from the required reading list, for making students “uncomfortable.” This isn’t the first school to ban the book for language that made students uncomfortable. In 2016, the book was taken off the eighth-grade reading list by Virginia’s Accomack County School District (Washington Post).

The ban can be seen as the latest in a recent rash of districts’ attempts to make school less offensive. Easthampton High School in Massachusetts banned the term “freshmen” in an effort to be more gender-inclusive. The school wants to call ninth-graders “first-year students.” The change was initiated by the school’s Gender and Sexuality Alliance Group, which analyzed the school’s handbook and identified other non-inclusive terms. Students can still use the term freshmen, but the change came after a months-long investigation about racial bias and bullying at the school. The school underwent diversity and inclusion training and added a diversity officer to its staff ( has compiled a list of items that have been part of recent bans in schools with little to no explanation:

  • Yoga Pants, leggings, showing shoulders
  • Bookbags in the classroom
  • Makeup, piercings, hairstyles, hair colors
  • Silly bands, rubber bands
  • Fidget Spinners

All of the items on the list had one common cause: it offended or distracted someone.