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Parent Objects to Book Read by SLHS Students

Southern Lehigh parent Karen Markham told the school board Monday that she thinks the book 'The Bluest Eye' by Toni Morrison is inappropriate reading material.

A Southern Lehigh parent told the school board Monday that she wants a book that was included her child's summer reading list to be removed from the list.

Karen Markham of Coopersburg said she objects to "The Bluest Eye" by Toni Morrison being included on the list because of "graphic descriptions of incest, rape and pedophilia."

According to a Wikipedia entry about the book, which was first published in 1970, "because of the controversial nature of the book, which deals with racismincest, and child molestation, there have been numerous attempts to ban it from schools and libraries."

"I am for freedom of speech, but I am asking the school to remove the book," Markham told the school board.

Markham argued that the book contains passages that are inappropriate for high school students such as her daughter.

For example, she said, one of the passages deals with the rape of an 11-year-old girl by her father.

"These scenes cannot be read out loud in class; could not be viewable if it was a movie," Markham said.

She said she was also upset by the fact that the neither the book nor the reading list bore a warning label, and that she was only alerted to its graphic nature by her daughter.

School board president Jeffrey Dimmig thanked Markham for her feedback and encouraged her to discuss the book's appropriateness with high school staff and administrators.

"I've read that book and I think it's an important book," Dimmig said.

However, he told Markham, "we certainly appreciate you exercising your First Amendment right here tonight."

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