Loudoun Schools Respond to Cat in the Hat Controversy

In past years as Loudoun schools celebrated Read Across America, it was common to see a prominent guest reader—say the school division superintendent or a local mayor—sitting in front of a class donning the iconic red and white hat worn by Dr. Seuss’ most famous cat character. That’s unlikely to happen during this year’s event.

The school division leaders made global headlines over the weekend amid media reports stating that they had banned the author’s works. 

Under increased scrutiny in recent years for allegations of systemic racism and inequality—including a landmark finding of discrimination by the Virginia Attorney General’s Office—the district is distancing from the children’s author. But they are not alone. The action is part of a nationwide discussion led by the Read Across America sponsor, the National Education Association on the legacy of Theodor Seuss Geisel following a 2017 report in which scholars identified racism in the illustrations and character development in his books and political cartoons. The NEA dropped the Dr. Seuss imagery from its Read Across America promotions two years ago.

But school leaders say they aren’t banning the author or his works. They released a formal statement on the “media rumor.”

“Dr. Seuss books have not been banned in Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS). LCPS believes this rumor started because March 2 is ‘Read Across America Day.’ Schools in LCPS, and across the country, have historically connected Read Across America Day with Dr. Seuss’ birthday. Research in recent years has revealed strong racial undertones in many books written/illustrated by Dr. Seuss. Examples include anti-Japanese American political cartoons and cartoons depicting African Americans for sale captioned with offensive language.

“Given this research, and LCPS’ focus on equity and culturally responsive instruction, LCPS provided this guidance to schools during the past couple of years to not connect Read Across America Day exclusively with Dr. Seuss’ birthday. We continue to encourage our young readers to read all types of books that are inclusive, diverse and reflective of our student community, not simply celebrate Dr. Seuss. Dr. Seuss books have not been banned and are available to students in our libraries and classrooms, however, Dr. Seuss and his books are no longer the emphasis of Read Across America Day in Loudoun County Public Schools,” the statement read.

5 thoughts on “Loudoun Schools Respond to Cat in the Hat Controversy

  • 2021-03-01 at 2:43 pm

    Our school board is comprised of some of the least intelligent people. Please focus on opening the schools and nothing us. Once the students return to five day a week in class instruction, then you can consider something else, until then please open the schools.

  • 2021-03-01 at 9:37 pm

    “Research in recent years has revealed strong racial undertones in many books written/illustrated by Dr. Seuss. ”

    Loudoun is leading the way when it comes to lunacy.

    Dr Seuss first published in 1937. Jesse Jackson in 1991 & President Obama in 2010 publicly read Green Eggs and Ham.

    Here we are in 2021 and cancel culture discovers a hidden meaning after almost 80 years. Amazing.

    Loudoun should not be canceling Dr. Seuss.

    Loudoun should be concerned with RETURNING our kids to school. Loudoun leaders need to LEAD. Pathetic.

  • 2021-03-02 at 10:32 am

    Dr. Seuss repented of his past actions later in life. We all make mistakes, even some of the best of us, like Dr. Martin Luther King. We should embrace the best of all people and recognize that we are all not perfect.

  • 2021-03-02 at 2:09 pm

    Just think how good and smug they’ll all get feel at the next school administrators nation convention. The one upsmanship will be spectacular! They may even get invited to the book burners sect party suite.

  • 2021-03-03 at 12:53 pm

    The governor of Virginia has racist imagery in his page of the yearbook.
    But the Left isn’t cancelling him out.

    The POTUS built his career on racist legislation. Palled around with some of the worst racists in Congress. Fought school integration. Wrote laws which ensured the mass incarceration of minorities.
    Even referred to integrated schools as “racial jungles.”

    The left couldn’t be bothered to cancel him, they were too busy celebrating his election.

    Hypocrisy is the modus operandi for the Left.

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