Books often serve the purpose of teaching an audience a part of history or a life lesson; however, these life lessons are often overlooked and the audience focuses on the minor details. Since its publication in 1970, The Bluest Eye, written by Toni Morrison, has become one of numerous novels that have been challenged or banned in numerous states and countries. According to the American Library Association’s “100 Most Frequently Challenged Books,” The Bluest Eye has appeared as number 15 from 2000-2009. The Bluest Eye, written by Toni Morrison, has been challenged and banned in various places due to its sexual, pornographic-like content, and graphic language. On February 10, 1998, in Montgomery County, Maryland, The Bluest Eye was challenged by Christine Schwalm, the mother of a high school student. Mrs. Schwalm brought The Bluest Eye and four other novels to the school board and described them as “lewd, adult books” (Foerstel). Specifically, she challenged The Bluest Eye for its sexual content and stated that she was sickened knowing her tax paying dollars were being used to teach children about the sexual content mentioned in the novel. During her presentation to the school board, Ms. Schwalm read aloud a passage from The Bluest Eye to prove how uncomfortable and inappropriate they were for high school students. Ultimately, the book was not removed from the curriculum and it remains on the reading lists. A year later, in 1999, The Bluest Eye was challenged by multiple parents in Baker City,Oregon. The novel was challenged for its sexual content; the one part of the book that seemed to bother all the parents was the rape scene between the main character and her father. All of the concerned parents gathered and created a petition which was brought to the superintendent to ban the book from the school’s reading list. When this challenge was brought to the superintendent,Arnold Coe, he decided to ban the book for being “‘sexually explicit” and “containing ‘controversial issues’ (Foerstel). In the end, the superintendent’s decision was also supported by the school board.More recently, in 2007, The Bluest Eye was challenged in Howell, Michigan. The book was challenged by Vicki Fyke, founder of LOVE (the Livingston Organization for Values in Education). This organization was comprised of parents, clergy, and others, who were not in favor of the book. Fyke’s reasoning behind banning the book was that it violated federal child pornography laws and Michigan’s sexual education laws, and was not suitable to be read by 11th grade students. Chris Finan, President of American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, heard of the challenge and sent a letter to Susan L. Drazic, Howell Board of Education President, convincing her to not ban the books. He stated, “The sexual content and profanity in The Bluest Eye and in Black Boy represent small but essential parts of the novels, consistent with the kind of material that high school students frequently read” (NCAC STAFF). The Howell Board of Education reviewed this letter and challenge, and voted 2 to 1, defending the book. Unsatisfied with the outcome, Fyke re-challenged the book, and went on to complain to David Morse, the Livingston County prosecutor. He then turned over the complaint to U.S. Attorney Stephen J. Murphy III. Murphy decided it was best to involve the Federal Bureau of Investigation. According to Finan, Murphy “routinely refers all obscenity complaints to the FBI” (Ladyjayne). When reviewed by the U.S. Attorney and Michigan Attorney General, they came to the conclusion that the complaints about the book violating federal child pornography laws were without merit, and no laws had been broken by including the books on the 11th graders reading lists. The Bluest Eye and other books that were challenged by LOVE, still remain on the 11th grade advanced English curriculum.Another challenge against The Bluest Eye was initiated in Broomfield, Colorado in 2010. The book was challenged by Ken and Mary Sue Grein after their daughter, Grace, had read the book “in the Multicultural Literature and Composition class at Legacy High School” (Karison). Grace stated that she “‘began the book with an innocent mind and came away with shattered naivety, and that’s without even finishing the book'” (Karison). She complained to her parents that, at times, when reading the book aloud in class, the teacher would have to stop reading the book out loud because the material was too uncomfortable. With these complaints, Ken and Mary Sue lodged a challenge against the book for graphic language and sexual content. After reviewing this challenge, the superintendent of Legacy High School stated that the book “‘includes graphic language in several passages throughout the book, including passages which make graphic references to consensual sexual encounter; rape/incest/bestiality; and pedophilia,'” however, he still decided to not ban the book, and left it on the approved list of instructional materials for 12th grade students (Karison). He stated that it was okay to substitute The Bluest Eye with another book, as long as it offers “‘comparable exposure and insight into African-American culture without profane or sexual language'” (Karison). He also stated that consent forms had to be signed by parents, before their child began to read the book in school. He recommended that the objectionable passages be clearly disclosed in this consent form.In 2013, The Bluest Eye was re-challenged in Broomfield, Colorado. The challenge was initiated by Janela Karison, a concerned parent, after she received a consent form from her child, asking her to sign it, so that they could read the book in school. Curious about the novel, Karison read it herself and immediately consented no. She then re-challenged the book and appealed the decision regarding the 2010 challenge, urging the superintendent to remove the book from all mandatory reading lists. She challenged the book for its sexual content and violation of the superintendent’s 2010 challenge. She stated that the school district violated the superintendent’s decisions made in 2010 about the book. First, while the superintendent only approved the book for 12th grade students, “the Legacy Teachers’ Rationale for The Bluest Eye erroneously states that ‘The Bluest Eye is approved by Adams 12 School District for use in high school classrooms'” (Karison). Second, based on the Legacy Teachers’ Rationale, “no other books were given serious consideration as an alternate text”, even though the superintendent stated that the teachers should consider other books. She also stated that the teachers’ consent form purposely glossed over the objectionable sections that would enable a parent to make an informed and responsible decision; only 7 out of 150 students opted out of reading the book. Karison believed that if specific quotes about rape and pedophilia had been included in the consent form, many more students would have opted out of reading the book. In her formal petition to the superintendent, she incorporated medical and social science research from the Journal of Treatment and Prevention and the American Academy of Pediatrics to prove why the sexual content and graphic language in the novel sets a bad example for high school students. She also stated that high school English teachers are not properly trained to help students psychologically process the sexually explicit content in the book. In response to Karison’s challenge, Bailey Cross, a student at Legacy High School, created a petition to maintain the book in the curriculum, which accumulated over 1,050 signatures. In her petition, she stated that the book should not be banned or censored because “‘censorship leaves students with an inadequate and distorted picture of the ideals, values, and problems of their culture'” (Quinn). Numerous teachers also spoke out against the ban, stating the book was used to analyze Morrison’s writing style. Ultimately, the Adams County School Board voted to remain the Superintendent’s original ruling of the 2010 challenge. In addition, only one of the three sections of the AP class would teach the novel, moving forward.One of the most recent cases found regarding protest against The Bluest Eye took place in Ohio in 2013. The book was challenged by Debe Terhar, Board of Education President for the State of Ohio. Terhar disapproved of including the novel on the Common Core Standards recommended reading list for 11th graders. She also went on to label the book as “pornographic” (Gates). She went on to make a statement saying, “I don’t want my grandchildren reading it, and I don’t want anyone else’s children reading it” (Johnson). Terhar was also backed by Mark Smith, a fellow board member and president of Ohio Christian University. He stated that he was concerned about such novels, because they are “quite diverse, and the benefit educationally is questionable at the least” (Johnson). He said that he saw an “underlying socialist-communist agenda,” within the books (Johnson). Reading about these complaints, the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio sent a letter to Terhar questioning her comments. Christine Link, executive director of the ACLU of Ohio stated, “Unfortunately, there is a long and troubling tradition of attacking African-American literature on the grounds that is ‘too controversial’ for young people” (ACLU). Within the letter, Link included an invitation to Terhar and other board members to attend an event in Columbus in observance of “Banned Books Week.” She sent this invitation in hopes that “‘they may learn more about the many African American authors whose important voices have been misunderstood and attacked'” (ACLU). Hearing about this challenge, author of The Bluest Eye, Toni Morrison, spoke out against the challenge and how she had taken the remarks personally because she was originally from Ohio; she resented it. She released a statement saying, “I mean if mean if it’s Texas or North Carolina as it has been in all sorts of states. But to be a girl from Ohio, writing about Ohio having been born in Lorain, Ohio. And actually relating as an Ohio person, to have the Ohio, what — Board of Education? — is ironic at the least” (Johnson). Hearing these comments, hundreds of people sent letters to Terhar and Smith, asking them to reconsider their challenge. Terhar then released a statement stating that her comments reflected her personal views;The comments I made reflected my concern about the graphic passages contained in a specific text. I do not personally believe these passages are suitable for school-age children. Nothing more and nothing less should be inferred. In particular, no disparagement was meant towards the celebrated career of Ohio author Toni Morrison. (Smyth)Ultimately, the novel was not banned and remains on the Common Core Standards recommended reading list for 11th graders.The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison is one of many novels that have faced criticism since its date of publication and has been challenged numerous times. This novel has been challenged in over fifteen states across the United States, for the same reasons of sexual content and graphic language. Most of these challenges never turned into bans, because, ultimately, the book offers valuable insight about African-American culture. Schools believed that banning the book would cause a major outbreak in the literature world; however, to please parents that supported a ban, the book was either kept in an advanced English curriculum or changed to the reading lists of juniors and seniors only. Morrison created quite the controversy with her natural ways of telling a story “inspired by a conversation she once had with an elementary school classmate who wished for blue eyes” (Bhardwaj).
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Overview Rett Syndrome (RTT) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that predominantly affects females, it arises from mutations in the X-linked gene methyl-CpG binding protein 2 (MeCP2).The diagnosis of RTT is based