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Parents concerned after books taken off curriculum at Bryant Public Schools

Rumors are spreading on social media of the school district getting rid of classic literature dealing with racism. We heard your concerns and looked into it.

BRYANT, Arkansas — Christy Mead has a daughter that attends Bryant Public Schools. Mead said her daughter read 'To Kill a Mockingbird,' so she didn't believe a social media post that claimed the book was being banned from the district.

The post said 'The Boy in the Striped Pajamas' and 'The Diary of Anne Frank' was banned among other books. 

"That is what is upsetting to me. I knew nothing about this until somebody had posted that tweet," said Mead.

We reached out to Bryant School District to find out what exactly is happening. Their response was the district is not banning books, but there have been some changes to 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 non-fictional Holocaust text, Four Perfect Pebbles... stating the two books were below a junior-high reading level.

In 2021, the district went through a curriculum review where some older texts were replaced because of repetitive themes and a lack of non-fiction readings. To Kill a Mockingbird was replaced with a unit focusing on education.

"They should have informed the parents about this, let the parents have a discussion, brought it to the school board," said Mead.

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

Only a few of the Core Curriculum files were openly visible to the public, but we did confirm that every curriculum change presented to the board was passed unanimously. 

We have put in requests for the other files. 

"We've got a group of parents and we're going to the school board and we are going to discuss it," said Mead.

Bryant School District said these books are still in the library and can be checked out.

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

You can find the school's full statement here.

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