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BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — Alice Walker’s “The Color Purple” will stay in the curriculum and on the shelves in Brunswick County Schools following a formal challenge of the novel.

According to Brunswick County Schools spokeswoman Jessica Swencki, West Brunswick High School Principal Brock Ahrens received the official challenge of the novel last Wednesday after weeks of discussion about whether the book is appropriate for study in AP courses.

Swencki says the Board of Education’s policy says this kind of challenge process begins at the school level. She says members of West Brunswick High’s School Improvement Team and its media coordinator reviewed the challenge yesterday. Swencki says during the review, committee members were required to read the book in its entirety before discussing the challenge and making a decision.

Based on that review, Swencki says the committee decided unanimously that the novel will remain in the curriculum and part of the media collection.

Swencki adds that according to school board policy, “parents in Brunswick County absolutely retain the final say with regard to their children’s exposure to works of literature,” and that alternate reading assignments are always available at parental request.

Comment on this Story

  • guest 7777

    Banning a book is one dangerous step away from burning books. Good for the school system in standing up to the challenge.

  • Jackson

    I agree with the board’s decision to keep the book on the reading list. However, I would like to see the list of books students are required to read.

    I have seen the list from a county that borders Brunswick, and it is made up mostly of schlock. There are hardly any books on the list that can be considered literature in the artistic sense.

    The English faculties are dumbing down to “entertain” their students. Entertainment has trumped scholarship.

  • robo

    Very poor decision to keep this book as reading material in the Brunswick County school system. The Board of Education has exercised poor judgment, in my opinion. There are much better pieces of literature than one as controversial as this.

  • ChefnSurf

    (Woops! This was supposed to have been a reply to Guest 777)

    Start banning books and we’re one step closer to the dystopian society Ray Bradbury portrayed in “Fahrenheit 451”.

    There are books that are undoubtedly better than “The Color Purple” and books that are worse, but the issue here is one of societal censorship, not book quality.

  • burgerboy

    That old rubbishy book is nothing but trash and filth masquerading as social commentary, with shock value being it’s only literary device, in a tradition started by maya angeloo and tony morrison, they need to get rid of that trash and get something with some literary merit to it like Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Phychon or A Confederecy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole, that is some proper literature that will learn them kids some proper theology and geometry!

  • Guest2020

    With all the great literature out there, why they choose to keep this trash is beyond me. There is no educational value in that book. It is riddled with foul language and has a graphic depiction of a rape in it. It does not belong in any classroom.

    There is nothing wrong with a school keeping any books off its shelves and out of its curriculum. It’s called discernment. I suppose it would be okay with Mein Kempf and other such garbage being allowed in the classroom. After all, schools should have an anything goes attitude, according to some of you.

    Someone needs to tell West Brunswick’s teachers about the policy of the parents having the final say. One of them went off the deep end when a student requested an alternative to that trash. There had been other students who had requested and were granted permission to read an alternate book and for some reason the teacher singled out this student and berated her so badly she caused her to have a panic attack.

  • Hannah C.

    As a student in the class, I can tell you that so far this year, the AP students in question have been assigned The Color Purple, The Color of Water, The Scarlet Letter, Their Eyes Were Watching God, The Things They Carried, and Catcher in the Rye. These are all books recommended by the AP Collegeboard.


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