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Civil Rights Book Language Too Mature?

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WEST BATON ROUGE-  Some parents are questioning school officials' decision to have third graders at Lukeville Upper Elementary in Brusly read a book about the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

Their concern isn't only about the topic being taught to 8-year-olds, but about how it's being taught, with the n-word.

The book, "Walking for Freedom: The Montgomery Bus Boycott," features at least three pages where quotes from that time include the n-word, or some form of it.  Parents tell News 2 that is unnecessary.

Katrina Hawkins said, "If they wanted to celebrate Black History, they could have talked about it on the surface, things that went on during the civil rights movement, if that's the topic they chose to explore for the lesson, even if they wanted to talk about the Montgomery Bus Boycott, they could have done it without the racial slur."

The school district says the book is part of its Black History Month curriculum and is rated for 3rd to 5th grade.  West Baton Rouge Parish Schools Superintendent David Corona tells News 2, "in the book is a quote that has the n-word in it.  Our teachers explain to students that this word was hurtful and inappropriate then, and is hurtful and inappropriate today."  He added, "We want all of our children to grow and learn from the sins and errors of the past, and I feel that this book helps to facilitate that learning and growth."

We checked with East Baton Rouge Schools on the matter.  A spokesman says the district sticks to textbooks for lessons on the Civil Rights Movement.  He says those textbooks aren't introduced into classrooms until the fourth and fifth grades.


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