Students filed a lawsuit when a school district restricted several books. The school board reinstated a novel

The Wentzville School Board voted Friday to reinstate “The Bluest Eye,” with only one vote against the decision. The book tells the story of an impoverished and abused black girl who is obsessed with white beauty standards and yearns for blue eyes. Council members had voted 4-3 in January to remove it from school library shelves and restrict digital access.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri (ACLU), which filed the lawsuit on behalf of the students, argued that the council had restricted several books that engage students with a “diversity of ideas and minority viewpoints, especially with regards to race, gender and sexual identity,” adding that council members are banning the books due to “ideological disagreement.”

Daniel Brice, vice president of the school board, said Friday that parents can still bar their children from accessing “The Bluest Eye” if they wish. “I think we’ve brought enough attention to this book that parents know this book is going to be in the library,” said Brice, who originally voted to withdraw the novel.

School board principal Sandy Garber was the only remaining vote against the book, insisting it was inappropriate for students and “doesn’t offer our children anything”.

Books written for children and young adults are the focus of school boards across the United States, but experts have warned against the practice of banning them because it can affect a child’s development compared to real-world challenges. A Tennessee school board removed the graphic novel “Maus,” which deals with the Holocaust, from the curriculum last month due to language and nudity issues. Last year, a Pennsylvania school board reversed its decision to ban anti-racism books and resources after students protested.
While Friday’s reversal was “good news,” other books “are still banned,” said Anthony Rothert, director of Integrated Advocacy for the ACLU of Missouri.

“Wentzville’s policies still allow any member of the community to force any book off the shelves, even when they shamelessly target books by and about communities of color, LGBTQ people, and other groups. marginalized,” Rothert said in a statement.

A school board motion had previously argued that Morrison’s book contained graphic content such as child molestation, incest and rape, according to the ACLU lawsuit.

"Maus"  is back on bestseller lists after being banned from a Tennessee school district

According to the lawsuit, the other books removed from Wentzvile school libraries are: “Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic Paperback,” by Alison Bechdel; “Not All Boys Are Blue,” by George M. Johnson; “Heavy: An American Memoir”, by Kiese Laymon; Lawn Boy, by Jonathan Evison; “Gabi, a girl in pieces”, by Isabel Quintero; “Modern Romance”, by Aziz Ansari; and “Invisible Girl”, by Lisa Jewell.

They were not discussed by the board at Friday’s meeting.

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