Bryant’s parents concerned after books removed from school curriculum

Rumors are spreading on social media that the school district is getting rid of classic literature dealing with racism. We have heard your concerns and considered them.

BRYANT, Arkansas — Christy Mead has a daughter who attends Bryant Public Schools. Mead said her daughter had read “To Kill a Mockingbird,” so she didn’t believe a social media post claiming the book was banned in the district.

The post read “The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas” and “The Diary of Anne Frank” was banned among other books.

“That’s what upsets me. I didn’t know until someone posted this tweet,” Mead said.

We’ve contacted the Bryant School District to find out exactly what’s going on. Their response was that the district does not ban books, but there have been some changes in the required reading assigned in English classes.

In 2019, the district replaced The Diary of Anne Frank and The Boy in the Striped Pajamas with a nonfiction text about the Holocaust, Four Perfect Pebbles… stating that both books were below a reading level of the middle School.

In 2021, the district underwent a curriculum revision where some older texts were replaced due to repetitive themes and a lack of non-fiction readings. To Kill a Mockingbird has been replaced with an education-focused unit.

“They should have told the parents about it, let the parents have a discussion, brought it to the school board,” Mead said.

We scoured the diaries of the Bryant Board of Education for the past five years to see if and when the board voted on these changes.

Only a few of the core program files were publicly visible, but we confirmed that every program change presented to the board was passed unanimously.

We made requests for the other files.

“We have a parent group and we go to the school board and we’ll discuss it,” Mead said.

The Bryant School District said those books are still in the library and can be borrowed.

The district also asked if the parents had any questions about this decision, they should call the administration.

You can find the school’s full statement here.

Colin L. Johnson