A Florida school board has become the latest to remove a book by Nobel Prize-winning author Toni Morrison from its classrooms and libraries after a mom slammed it for ‘exposing kids to pedophilia’ and running ‘Marxist indoctrination camps’.
Michelle Stille blasted the Pinellas County school board for including Morrison’s ‘The Bluest Eye’ in her child’s advanced literature course.
Stille, a teacher at a Christian school in the district, said she was ‘shocked any adult would expose 15-year-olds’ to the book’s ‘explicit descriptions of illegal activities’.
Michelle Stille prompted the Pinellas County school board to remove ‘The Bluest Eye’ from classrooms after she slammed the district’s schools as ‘Marxist indoctrination camps’
Toni Morrison’s book ‘The Bluest Eye’ has come under fire in recent years and is routinely one of the most challenged books in America
Stille emailed school board members disturbing excerpts from the book, which led the authority to review and ultimately ban the novel across the county.
The controversial 1970 novel tells the story of a young African American girl who believes she is ugly as she doesn’t have blue eyes.
The book includes elements of abuse, pedophilia, sexual assault, racism and incest, and has consistently been one of the most banned books in school districts across America.
Stille claimed she would be pulling all seven of her kids out of the area’s public schools in protest.
‘When I first read The Bluest Eye back in September 2022 I had a freeze response to it,’ she said her in her YouTube clip, titled ‘Marxism in Education.’
‘I was so shocked that any adult would expose 15 year olds to such explicit descriptions of illegal activities.’
‘The Bluest Eye’, Morrison’s debut novel published in 1970, tells the story of an African American girl’s childhood following the Great Depression
Morrison has won numerous awards over the years, including a Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1988 and the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1993, but her work has been criticized in recent times
Pinellas County chief academic officer Dan Evans responded by banning the book from libraries and classrooms, telling school board members the district was ‘erring on the side of caution’.
Stille said her child’s teacher informed the class of the ban by saying ‘parents don’t like to be uncomfortable’ and wore a shirt that said ‘ban the fascists, save the books.’
Evans referenced new Florida state training, approved by the State Board of Education last week, as one of the key reasons behind the decision to remove access to the book.
The training calls on schools to vet all books for any topics that may be ‘harmful to minors’.
‘The Bluest Eye’ was listed as the fourth most commonly banned book in America from the 2021-2022 school year according to date form PEN America.
Morrison was awarded the 1993 Nobel Prize for her contribution to literature, 23 years after the publication of her controversial novel.
What is Toni Morrison’s ‘The Bluest Eye’?
Published in 1970, ‘The Bluest Eye’ was Toni Morrison’s debut novel. It depicts the life of an African American girl’s childhood following the Great Depression.
The novel tells the story of the child feeling she is ‘ugly’, resulting in a desire for blue eyes that she equates with ‘whiteness’.
The book formed part of a body of work that won has Morrison numerous literary awards, including a Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1988 and the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1993.
However, the controversial publication has since come under fire for its introduction in school curriculums, and it is routinely one of the most challenged and banned books across America.
‘Gender Queer: A Memoir’ by Maia Kobabe was the most banned book that year after being removed from bookshelves on 41 occasions.
Pinellas County school board was praised in March 2022 by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis after it removed the LGBTQ-focused book following protests from parents.
The book was deemed ‘inappropriate’ for high school readers following a review by the school board, as DeSantis slammed it as ‘a cartoon-style book with graphic images of children performing sexual acts.’
Florida’s school literary purge has led some districts, such as Manatee County, to close all its classroom libraries while they vet books for harmful content, while others have taken numerous titles out of circulation following challenges from local parents.
‘The Bluest Eye’, which was not part of the district curriculum but was included in a reading list in a teacher’s literature class, was placed under review following Stille’s protest.
Evans told the school board that after the principal decided to remove the book from the class, consultations with the district leaders led all schools in the county to ban access to the book.
The decision received widespread support from conservatives, with blogger David Happe thanking the board for listening to the public’s objections.
Pinellas school board member Stephanie Meyer also lauded the move, and said she could not see a problem with districts following the law protecting students from ‘harmful content’.
She added that, as minors, schools must protect students from inappropriate material, insisting that the books were not banned, but unavailable in schools.
Stille branded the county’s public schools ‘Marxist doctrinarian camps’ and the system a ‘dumpster fire’.
‘Most of public schools are a dumpster fire, the veteran teacher said.
‘Marxist theory is completely embedded in our public school, yes, even in Florida. We don’t have isolated problems. We have a Marxist system.
‘It is insidious and until something egregious happens it is really impossible to pinpoint.