Henry Sibley High drops ‘Of Mice and Men’ after complaints

"As we sought an answer for concerned families, we asked the teaching team to pause teaching of the novel."

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Henry Sibley High School recently set aside “Of Mice and Men” and “Montana 1948” from its curriculum after receiving complaints from parents.

Henry Sibley High School, which will have its name changed to drop the name of Minnesota’s first governor, has put a “pause” on the use of multiple books. The school board sent out a letter to parents explaining why the books were set aside.

“We wanted to provide some additional information about the use of the text Of Mice and Men in the 9th grade language arts course,” reads the letter sent to parents.

“The school district has not banned the teaching of this novel nor has it requested that the novel be removed from the current English Language Arts curriculum. Recently, we received communication from families and staff expressing concerns about racist stereotypes and slurs used in the novel,” it continues. 

“As we sought an answer for concerned families, we asked the teaching team to pause teaching of the novel.”

While not banned in Henry Sibley High, the two books have been the subject of criticism many times before.

“Of Mice and Men” has been repeatedly removed from classrooms over sexual overtones and profanity, particularly racial slurs. The book “Montana 1948” has been challenged for similar reasons.

“Recently, we received concerns about the content of Montana 1948 from our American Indian community. Administration responded by asking the department to pause the use of that novel and provide background to our students from our American Indian cultural liaison. For the remainder of the semester, students will be provided with a unit of short stories that provides instruction on the same skills that were being taught,” reads a message to parents.

Carrie Ardito, the school board’s director of communications, expanded on the school board’s intentions.

“At the core of the message is our need to develop a board policy that clearly outlines how we will address the reconsideration of instructional materials going forward,” Ardito told Alpha News.