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Missouri district rescinds decision to ban Toni Morrison book

The Wentzville School Board on Friday accepted a review committee’s recommendation to retain Toni Morrison’s “The Bluest Eye."
Pulitzer prize winning author, Toni Morrison, pictured in New York.
Pulitzer prize winning author, Toni Morrison, pictured in New York.Timothy Fadek / Corbis via Getty Images file
/ Source: Associated Press

WENTZVILLE, Mo.— A suburban St. Louis school district has reversed its earlier decision to remove a book from its school libraries in the face of criticism and a class-action lawsuit.

The Wentzville School Board on Friday accepted a review committee’s recommendation to retain Toni Morrison’s “The Bluest Eye,” which it had previously banned because of its explicit descriptions of sex, violence, rape and incest, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

Daniel Brice, the board’s vice president, said the district should “tighten its policies” regarding some books, but he noted that parents already had the right to request that certain titles not be available to their children.

The district made national news last month when it removed “The Bluest Eye” from its high school libraries. The board has also temporarily banned other books while they are reviewed.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri earlier this month sued the school district on behalf of two students.

“This is welcome news, 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,” said Anthony Rothert, director of integrated advocacy of ACLU of Missouri.