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Virginia schools ban 'To Kill a Mockingbird,' 'Huckleberry Finn' for racial slurs

A Virginia school has temporarily banned two American classics after a parent said her high school-age son was negatively impacted by the racial slurs they contain.

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The decision to remove "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" by Mark Twain and "To Kill A Mockingbird" by Harper Lee came after a parent filed a complaint, WAVY reported. The parent cited excessive racial slurs as the reason for wanting the books banned, Superintendent Warren Holland told the news station.

The parent, whose son is biracial, said that her concerns are "not even just a black and white thing."

"I keep hearing, 'This is a classic, This is a classic,' ... I understand this is a literature classic. But at some point, I feel that children will not -- or do not -- truly get the classic part -- the literature part, which I'm not disputing," she said at a Nov. 15 school board meeting. "This is great literature. But there (are so many) racial slurs in there and offensive wording that you can't get past that."

The parent said her son, who was reading "Huckleberry Finn" for a high school assignment, couldn't get past a certain page in that story on which the N-word appeared seven times. 

A racial slur appears 219 times in "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" and 48 times in "To Kill a Mockingbird."

"So what are we teaching our children? We're validating that these words are acceptable, and they are not acceptable by (any) means," the parent said, also noting psychological effects language has on children. "There is other literature they can use."

The parent proposed a committee made up of parents and teachers of different cultural backgrounds come up with a list of books that are inclusive for all students. She also offered to donate books and raise funds in the case of budgetary concerns.

The complaint, which was "a request for reconsideration of learning resources," will go before a committee made up of a principal, librarian, teacher, parent and potentially others, according to WCMH. The committee will then make a recommendation to the superintendent.

Holland said that there is no set date for when the recommendation will be made.

Read more at WAVY.

Academy: Bob Dylan not coming to Stockholm to pick up Nobel Prize

UPDATE: Bob Dylan will not go to Stockholm to pick up his 2016 Nobel Prize for literature, according to The Associated Press.

Dylan told the Swedish Academy that "he wishes he could receive the prize personally, but other commitments make it unfortunately impossible," in a statement released Wednesday.

Read the original story below.

For an artist who has released 37 albums and written (or co-written) 522 songs, it would seem unusual for Bob Dylan to be at a loss for words.

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But the 75-year-old singer-songwriter said he was “speechless” when he was awarded the 2016 Nobel Prize for literature. Dylan said “of course” he would accept the prize, the Swedish Academy said.

The academy's permanent secretary, Sara Danius, told The Associated Press that Dylan contacted them to confirm he would accept the prize. Danius told Sweden's TT news agency that Dylan called her Tuesday evening and they spoke for about 15 minutes.

"The news about the Nobel Prize left me speechless," Dylan told Danius, according to a statement posted Friday on the academy's website. "I appreciate the honor so much."

It is unclear whether Dylan will attend any Nobel events in Stockholm in December, Danius said.

Dylan at first was silent after the announcement, prompting a member of the Swedish Academy to call it “impolite and arrogant,” the AP reported.

Dylan has accepted many awards through the years, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, for which he attended a White House ceremony in 2012. 

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