The Bluest Eye to remain in classes
Nobel Prize winner and celebrated American novelist, Toni Morrison
Apr. 27, 2016 PLYMOUTH EAGLE.
Plymouth Michigan News
Toni Morrison will stay in the Northville Public Schools.
Despite the protests of several parents, some who went so far as to label the 1970s novel, The Bluest Eye, as “pornographic,” members of the board of education opted to follow the recommendation of a review committee and continue to use the novel in the Northville High School Advanced Placement English and Composition Course.
More than 30 parents, administrators, teachers and board members spoke at the meeting Tuesday night both defending and criticizing the novel.
The Bluest Eye is set to be assigned to students in the class this month. The book has been in use in the district English course since the early 1990s, but this year drew criticism from parents who questioned the depictions of racism, incest and child sexual molestation in the novel.
The book details the life of Pecola, a young black girl who feels inferior to whites because of her skin and eye color.
Parents filled the board meeting room at Hillside Middle School last week reiterating their concerns. Those concerns were recently addressed on the district website by Superintendent of Schools Mary Kay Gallagher who clarified the process the district follows whenever concerns about materials being used in classrooms are raised.
Because of the imminent assignment of the novel, and the concerns of parents, the district review process was expedited and moved to the third level of consideration last month. That included review by a committee comprising an administrator from the high school, the district media specialist, an elementary teacher, a parent, two English teachers, and the district Director of Instruction. Assistant Superintendent for Instructional Services Deanna Barash served as facilitator for the review of The Bluest Eye. The conclusion of the review committee suggested the continued use of book in the high school class. In addition, the committee noted that, as with all assignments, families with concerns have the option to request another literature selection.
Members of the school board reiterated the recommendation of the review committee which stressed the parental option to choose another book for students to complete the course requirements.
The other options are The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner or selections from 50 Essays by Samuel Cohen.