Wentzville School Board votes to remove controversial book

Wentzville School Board votes to remove controversial book

WENTZVILLE, Mo. – A controversial book that has been challenged for its mature language will be removed from Wentzville School District libraries and will no longer be an AP reading choice.

The Wentzville School Board voted 4-3 in favor of not retaining “The Bluest Eye” by Toni Morrison during Thursday’s meeting. Before it went before the board, a district review committee had voted to retain the book.

Since the book was a reading option for AP English students, there was an original motion to keep it as a choice only for those in the class with parent approval, but the motion failed.

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“The Bluest Eye” is about a young black girl named Pecola who grew up just after the Great Depression and is regarded as “ugly” because of her mannerisms and dark skin, according to a description of the book. As a consequence of how she’s treated, she wishes for blue eyes. The book also covers topics, including racism, incest, rape, and child molestation.

In the review committee’s summary notes, it states that “The referenced paragraphs are but a few of the passages of this book that allows us to see into this world and are not written for sexual gratification.”

“This novel has value towards a supportive WSD curriculum and students’ growth as readers and learners. This novel helps the reader step into and understand 1941 (pre-WWII, pre-civil rights movement), small-town black culture in a way no textbook can do. There is also value for the reader in reading and being exposed to Toni Morrison’s prose and manner of writing, which is rare to her.”

At Thursday’s meeting, one board member who voted to not retain the book said that “The Bluest Eye” does not have academic or social value for students, and could be “extremely unhealthy.”

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Another board member, who also voted to not retain the book, said not only does this book provide illustration, but also a “play-by-play of action.”

To read the complete report by the review committee, click here. To watch the school board meeting, click here.

The school district has also removed “All Boys Aren’t Blue” by George M. Johnson “Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic” by Alison Bechdel and “Heavy: An American Memoir Kiese Laymon” from shelves without them going by a review committee.

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