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To: School administrators and School Board, Lexington-Richland School District 5

Don't Ban Ta-Nehisi Coates' Books!

Restore Ta-Nehisi Coates' enlightening and award-winning "Between The World and Me" in the curriculum of the AP classes at the Chapin Hill School in South Carolina. Political agendas and vague concerns shouldn't undermine teachers' ability to introduce thought-provoking literature about race and society to their students.

Why is this important?

Recently, a high school teacher in South Carolina was prevented from teaching "Between the World and Me," by Ta-Nehisi Coates, to her Advanced Placement students, due to legislation enacted by Republican lawmakers to make it easier to ban and censor books.

Ta-Nehisi Coates—a highly acclaimed and award-winning writer—offers a personal narrative of his upbringing in this remarkable book, which won the prestigious National Book Award and numerous other notable accolades in 2015. The book talks about the complex issues of race and racism in America—a topic the teacher used to foster critical thinking among her students, asking them to analyze Coates' arguments and develop their own theses.

These are not only appropriate questions to ask high schoolers in an AP class—they are essential. Students need to explore thought-provoking subjects, reflect upon them, and form their own reflections and arguments. In addition, comprehending the history and present reality of race in America is an indispensable part of any student's education in this country.

The law makes it too easy to ban and censor books—and that is part of the deliberate goal of the right-wing legislators who passed it. Across the country, Republicans have made it easier and easier to challenge books on race and racism, gender identity, sexual orientation, slavery, the Holocaust, and other topics they wish to wipe out from our public school curriculum. In some states, they are even threatening librarians with prosecution for making these "banned books" available.

We must stand up against book bans and censorship, and advocate for the freedom to learn—especially topics that broaden our perspective, bring us a deeper view of our history and society, and challenge us to relate to complicated topics.

The school must reinstate "Between the World and Me" in the AP curriculum, and the state should repeal laws that make it so easy to ban and censure books.

Irmo, SC, USA

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2023-06-19 11:04:19 -0400

500 signatures reached

2023-06-16 11:52:14 -0400

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2023-06-16 11:38:16 -0400

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2023-06-16 11:34:18 -0400

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2023-06-16 11:32:21 -0400

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