Parent Laura Murphy Wants Toni Morrison’s Book 'Beloved' Banned From Schools

| by Michael Allen

Mom Laura Murphy wants her son’s school district in Fairfax County, Virginia to stop teaching Nobel Prize winner Toni Morrison’s novel 'Beloved' to high school students.

According to the Washington Post, Murphy feels that the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel's theme of the brutality of slavery and scenes depicting gang rape, infant murder and violence are too intense for high school seniors.

Murphy claims her teen son had nightmares when he had to read the book for his senior English course. However, she did not say why other students should not be allowed to read the book.

“I’m not some crazy book burner,” Murphy told the Washington Post. “I have great respect and admiration for our Fairfax County educators. The school system is second to none. But I disagree with the administration at a policy level.  It’s not about the author or the awards. It’s about the content.”

On Thursday, the Fairfax County School Board voted not to hear Murphy’s challenge to the book, but she plans to take her fight to the Virginia Board of Education.

Fairfax County has never banned a book from its schools, although it has stipulated that certain books should only be available to older students.

'Beloved' is the story of a slave woman in the South who murders her own child rather than have it grow up in a life of bondage.

“It’s a painful part of the African American history in parts of this country,” said Barbara Jones, director of the American Library Association. “A lot of parents understandably want to protect their children from that…However, we would strongly advise people to read the book as a whole before they make a judgment.”

Teachers in Fairfax County must notify parents two weeks ahead of time if they want to show an R-rated film to students, but no warnings are required for books. However, students can opt out of reading books they find objectionable.

Source: Washington Post