Toni Morrison's 'The Bluest Eye' banned from Colton school curriculum due to sexually explicit content

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Friday, February 21, 2020
Toni Morrison's book banned from Colton school curriculum
'The Bluest Eye' was published 50 years ago by Pulitzer Prize winning author Toni Morrison. The book is now stirring up controversy at a Colton school, where teachers are banned from discussing it with their students due to a sexually explicit scene.

COLTON, Calif. (KABC) -- A book published 50 years ago by Pulitzer Prize winning author Toni Morrison is stirring up controversy at Colton High School, where teachers are banned from discussing the book with their students.

"The Bluest Eye" was written in 1970 by Morrison. It's about an African American girl growing up during the Great Depression. Later in the book, the girl is raped by her own father, who is a drunk, in a very sexually explicit scene.

"It's awful. It's awful what the protagonist goes through, yet important to talk about," said Lucy Leyva, a teacher at Colton High School.

Teachers like Leyva won't be talking about the book anymore, after a handful of parents at another school in the district complained.

"I'm upset and hurt that they cannot trust what we as teachers know is best for our students," Leyva said.

The school district says parents are notified whenever there is a controversial book, and parents are given the choice of opting out. Still, some parents complained. So, the school board voted 4-2 to stop teachers from teaching about the book.

"They listened to the parents who came to them and were concerned about the graphic sexual violence that was portrayed in the book," said Katie Orloff with the Colton Joint Unified School District.

Some students and parents said they were planning to speak in favor of the book at a school board meeting slated for Thursday evening.

"A lot of these problems with racism and what have you are in there, and they still follow us to this very day, so to have that taken away from us, it's like we're trying to pretend the problem doesn't exist when it really does," said student Isaiah Enriquez. "We need to have this opportunity as students, as educators to sit down and understand this is how life is."

Students at Colton High School can still technically read "The Bluest Eye," just not with the guidance of a teacher.