School District Reverses Its Decision To Ban Toni Morrison Novel


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A Missouri school district changed course on banning a classic novel by the late Toni Morrison amid a public backlash and a class action lawsuit.

The Wentzville School Board –– located in a suburb of St. Louis –– reversed its earlier decision to ban Morrison's The Bluest Eye on Friday (February 25), accepting a special committee's recommendation to keep the novel on high school shelves.

The board had initially voted to remove the book over its description of violence, rape, incest, and sex, according to a report by the St. Louis Dispatch. Other titles have been banned while awaiting the committee's review.

Earlier this month, the ACLU of Missouri sued the district on behalf of two students who claimed the books were being banned because the protagonists and authors are Black or identify as LGBTQ+.

"This is welcomed news," Anthony Rothert, director of integrated advocacy for ACLU of Missouri, said of the board's decision, "but the fact remains that six books are still banned. And Wentzville's policies still make it easy for any community member to force any book from the shelves even when they shamelessly target books by and about communities of color, LGBTQ people and other marginalized groups."

Districts around the country have imposed bans on books by several Black authors, other authors of color, and LGBTQ+ authors. The bans come as part of Republicans' push to rid American schools of Critical Race Theory lessons they believe will make white children "feel bad."

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