When the mother of a Black ninth grader at a private school in Charlotte, N.C. complained that her son’s English class would be reading “Fences,” he was expelled (“A Black Student’s Mother Complained About ‘Fences.’ He Was Expelled.” The New York Times, Dec. 15). Apparently, the school felt it was easier doing that than defending the play.
Public schools, of course, cannot expel a student except for the most serious behavior. As a result, they have to deal with parents making outrageous demands about the curriculum. “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” was an approved novel for use in 11th grade English classes in the Los Angeles Unified School District when I was teaching there. When one parent complained about the “N” word, the district issued a lengthy apology that was embarrassing to read.
Private and religious schools operate by a completely different set of rules than traditional public schools. It’s not surprising, therefore, that outcomes are also so different.
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