Parents are requesting a book be pulled from the shelves of the Durant High School library after a disturbing revelation of its contents.
The 1970 novel, “The Bluest Eye,” by Toni Morrison is explained as the story of an 11-year-old African-American girl in Ohio in the early 1940s, who prays for her eyes to turn blue so that she will be beautiful.
Local resident Michelle Williams brought the book to the attention of school officials in Durant who were unaware of the book’s content.
Williams made a formal request to have the book pulled from the shelves permanently. She also made a presentation at the Durant ISD Board of Education’s meeting Monday evening.
Williams explained the book to the board and presented them with portions of the book that she felt were not appropriate for children.
Portions of the books add detail to the physical and mental aspects of rape through the eyes of the rapist.
Williams said the author took pains within the book to not depict the rapist’s action as wrong so that people can see everyone has their own problems.
“What the author said of this book is that she wanted the reader to feel like a co-conspirator of the rapist,” Williams said.
Williams said this is something she does not want her children to feel a part of.
According to Williams, this is a Common Core Curriculum approved book that has been stirring up trouble in other states recently and she wondered if it was in Durant schools.
Williams was made aware of the book through social media after a debate in a Colorado school made news.
The school in Colorado teaches from the book and parents became concerned with their children reading such imagery.
According to Williams, when asked to remove the book from the school’s curriculum, parents were told their children could opt out of the assignment and receive a “D” for the reading.
Upon hearing this, Williams called Durant High School Library and discovered the book was on the shelves.
When she voiced her concern to the librarian, the book was immediately taken off the shelf and now awaits review to be officially taken out of the library.
“I’m not for censorship,” said Williams, “but when it comes to our children it’s not censorship. It’s parenting.”
Williams said the book can also be found in the adult section of the public library and she is fine with that.
She said adults can choose to read this, but she does not feel school-aged children should be exposed to such imagery.
One point of comfort Williams pointed out was that although she did not know how long the book had been in the library, it had not been checked out by a student in more than seven years.
The book has been checked out three times at the school library. Durant Assistant Superintendent Duane Merideth said the school board shares the parent’s concern.
He said the school district is proceeding with the legal process to evaluate whether the book will be officially pulled from the library but could give no official decision as of yet.
The book is not on the library shelves during this process. Merideth said Williams will be notified when a final decision on the book has been made.
- Jessica Breger can be reached at (580) 924-4388 ext. 116 or on Twitter @jbreger_news