Reading Books as Punishment?

A group of five teens vandalised a historical African American school building in Virginia, USA, with racist, antisemitic and obscene graffiti. The Ashbury Coloured School is a dilapidated wooden schoolhouse and one of the few remaining black schoolhouses in Northern Virginia. The judge sentenced the boys to read 35 books and watch 14 movies about racism, gender equality and anti-semitism.

In sentencing the judge said the boys were ‘dumb teenagers’ who did not understand what they had done and this was a teachable moment to re-educate them.  They have to write a paper to explain the message that swastikas and white-power symbols send. They will also visit the Holocaust museum and the American history museum to see an exhibition about the internment of Japanese people during the second world war.

We think all teens and adults should read these books, which include Alice Walker’s The Color Purple, Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, Alan Paton’s Cry the Beloved Country and  Leon Uris’s Exodus. Read more here.

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