9th grade English classes chose to use the book Just Mercy this year, rather than the traditional To Kill a Mockingbird. The book is written by a social justice activist. It is Mr. Stephenson's opinion about the Justice System, but is being presented as truth. It contains biased, inflammatory language and misinformation. Here are just a few examples:
• page 15 - "We've given up on rehabilitation, education, and services for the imprisoned because providing assistance to the incarcerated is apparently too kind and compassionate."
• page 15 - "We've created laws that make nonviolent offenses - like writing a bad check or committing petty theft - result in life imprisonment."
• page 15 - "We ban poor people and their children from receiving food stamps and public housing if they have prior drug convictions."
• page 16 - "Presumption of guilt based on poverty and racial bias have created a system that is defined by error." – For this claim, Stevenson cites himself as a source (page 265)
The class used a worksheet that included the following claim: “Children threatened by abuse, neglect, violence, racial bias and poverty are usually ignored - until they do something violent.” We should NOT be repeating the message that children are ignored until they become violent.
Submitted: Apr 30, 2021