GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Northview Public Schools will hold a closed-door meeting to consider banning eight books from its schools.
The meeting comes after a community member requested that the books, which are available to students in grades 7-12 as optional reading, be removed.
The district says that they will hold the meeting with a committee consisting of members of the community, staff members, and two Board members.
The committee will review each of the books and provide a recommendation to the interim superintendent of the district.
The books that are being considered by the committee are:
- Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Mass
- Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel
- Push by Sapphire
- All Boys Aren't Blue by George M Johnson
- Lawn Boy by Jonathan Evison
- Tricks by Ellen Hopkins
- Me, Earl, and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews
- The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
The books' themes range from sexual abuse by a parent, exploring teenagers' sexuality, and coping with death and racism in America. Several of the books also contain LGBTQ+ themes.
Many of the books have had both successful and unsuccessful attempts to ban them in other schools across the country. Complaints about the books usually focus on graphic content, sexual content and LGBTQ+ themes. Some of the books have been labeled as "pornography" by parents in school districts in other states.
One of the books, The Bluest Eye, was written by Nobel Prize-winning author Toni Morrison in 1970 and is now considered to be an "American Classic" by many critics.
The Bluest Eye was banned in Wentzville, MO in 2022 and was challenged twice in Michigan in Howell in 2007 and Northville in 2016. Both of the Michigan challenges to remove the book from AP curriculum in the districts failed and it is still assigned reading to this day.
The meeting to review the books is not open to the public and will take place on Wednesday, Sept. 20 at 5 p.m.
When asked for a comment, Northview Public Schools provided the following statement to 13 ON YOUR SIDE:
“At Northview Public Schools, we are dedicated to fostering and maintaining a strong partnership with the community we are proud to serve. As part of this commitment, the Board of Education has thoughtfully established a set of policies, guidelines and procedures designed to review instructional materials across the district. Having recently received a request from a community member to remove eight books available to students in grades 7-12 for optional reading, the district has established a complaint review committee, under Board Policy 9130, to review the books in question. The committee - consisting of members of the community, staff members, and two Board members - will conduct a thorough review of each book and present their recommendation to the interim superintendent. In our dedication to ensuring transparency, we will keep parents informed throughout the review process.”
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