NCAC asked Chloe Bauer and Sungjoo Yoon, recent students in the Burbank Unified School District, to tell us why they felt the District was wrong to remove five classic books from classrooms. Read NCAC’s original coverage here.
NCAC is disappointed in the District’s resolution to this matter and continues to advocate for the District to adopt stronger book review policies and to follow them when books are challenged. In addition, we are disappointed that students will not have the chance to be guided in the kinds of classroom discussions Sungjoo and Chloe recall from their time reading Mildred D. Taylor’s Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry. Chloe, now a 14-year-old high school student, writes that “this novel had a profound impact on me and the way I viewed racism in America,” and feels that “the book itself is not ‘traumatizing,’ that the fault lies in the way the book was taught.”
These reflections were written before the Superintendent’s statement of November 27, 2020, was published. They speak directly to the value these books provided, when taught with compassion and empathy, and to what is lost in their absence. These essays also provide insight into how students in the District perceive the current situation in Burbank schools.
Chloe Bauer’s essay is below. Read Sungjoo Yoon’s essay here. Both were interviewed in this Los Angeles Times article. NCAC is grateful to Sungjoo and Chloe for sharing their voices with us. They are a credit to the Burbank Unified School District.