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BOLIVIA, NC (WWAY) — A Pulitzer Prize-winning novel will stay in Brunswick County Schools despite a county commissioner’s objections.

After months of debate about the educational value of “The Color Purple,” the school board today turned the page on the controversy, but not before their own bit of drama.

The board took two votes this afternoon. In the first vote the board decided to ban “The Color Purple” from classrooms. But after confusion set in, and they realized what they had done, they took a second vote and decided to keep the book as part of 11th and 12th grade AP curriculum.

County Commissioner Pat Sykes challenged West Brunswick High School’s use of the book citing what she called immorality, filth and vulgar language.

When the school’s principal denied the challenge, Sykes appealed to Superintendent Dr. Edward Pruden, who also rejected her request.

Friday the school board sided with Pruden.

Board Chair John Thompson says after reading the book, he thought it had literary merit.

“I sort of viewed the book as a historical novel,” Thompson said. “It’s about a group of Americans looking for their own identity in the ’30s, ’40s, and ’50s, and the difficulties they face.”

After the meeting Sykes says she respects the board’s decision and hopes to see changes in current policies.

The board will now take a look at its current policies dealing with selection of course material and parent inspection and objection of those materials.

Comment on this Story

  • guest000000

    And Ginny Quaglia is a joke.

  • guest000000

    The correct decision was made by the board of education. There are about 1 millions teachers I’d listen to about how to best educate our children before I listened to Pat Sykes’ opinion on how we should.

  • Judy Galloway

    I’m so disappointed in the boards decision. When a book cannot be read aloud in public due to the language, kids should not be required to read in school. If everyone would just read the language in The Color Purple, I think they would have a different opinion. If the kids used the language at school, they would be punished or expelled.

  • Guest000000

    We need to remember the elected official responsible for this HUGE waste of time, effort and money come election time. We also need to remember the two other elected officials who voted to go along with her. Even though it manifests itself in a different way, she is just as clueless as the commissioner she replaced. Luckily some of the high school students she believes are too immature to handle this work of literature will be old enough to vote in a couple years.

  • arleneowens

    BRAVO! Censorship is never a service to education.

  • wilm nc here

    we need to keep the bible out of the schools too.

  • Meredith H

    I can’t believe that in 2013 (now 2014) this is even an issue. First and foremost, “The Color Purple” is such an outstanding piece of literary art. It’s moving. It’s provoking. It’s engaging. It’s historical. It has so many levels of messages and meanings. Secondly, this whole thing started because of the language in the book? Really now. I hate to tell you parents, but the your sixth graders are saying/texting/posting way worse words and phrases than what are found in that book and they haven’t read it–so they are definitely not learning such language in English class. To think that banning a book will keep your little angels from speaking foul words is not only blind but ignorant. I think it’s a shame that they have limited such a great piece of work to only AP level classes when students of any course rigor could learn a great deal from reading it. What is this?? Nazi Germany?

  • jack spratt

    If purple is the color of courage, the Brunswick County School Board can’t wear it. What a bunch of scared little bunnies. There are literary works more worthy of serious study that aren’t filled with profanity, scenes of violence and human degradation and reeking with such a degree of offensiveness. I do get it. It’s on the AP test. To that I say, change it. 18 year olds are only adults by a legal definition. I’d agree it is suitable for young adults but I disagree with the definition of age alone as being what makes one an adult. Many high school seniors are only 17. Some may be 21, but that is another story…most likely a sports story. Thank you Commissioner Sykes for exhibiting the moral courage to stand up for your convictions. In this day, when morals are missing in so many politicians, you are an exception.

  • Guest2020

    Teaching trash like this instead of real literature is part of what is wrong with our education system. Another part of what is wrong is having idiots like Pruden making decisions like this. Educators like him, who come up through the system, will stick to the system instead of making the changes that will actually benefit the students. But, we are talking about a man who said that the parents of Brunswick County need to be reprogrammed. Actually, the educators, who are running our education system into the ground, are the ones who need to be reprogrammed. What they are doing is obviously not working. They are allowing filth in the schools that many parents would not allow in their homes. It’s ridiculous. People need to get off the political correctness wagon and get on the education wagon and start demanding that proper material be taught in our schools. The dumbing down of America will continue until education is taken seriously.


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