For the second time this year, Ohio School Board President Debe Terhar is under fire for voicing her personal opinion, this time about a novel by Ohio native and Nobel Prize-winning author Toni Morrison.
Terhar said at the state school board meeting on Tuesday that The Bluest Eye, Morrison’s first novel, should not be included on a suggested reading list for Ohio high-school students because it is “totally inappropriate.”
“I don’t want my grandchildren reading it, and I don’t want anyone else’s children reading it,” Terhar said at the board meeting. “It should not be used in any school for any Ohio K-12 child. If you want to use it in college somewhere, that’s fine.”
At the time, Terhar did not specify why she opposes Morrison’s novel, but said it is inappropriate for the school board to “even be associated with it.”
Set in the 1940s in Lorain, the book’s heroine is a black girl, Pecola Breedlove, who dreams of how her life would be better if she had blue eyes like a white person. In the novel, the girl is raped and impregnated by her father.
Neither the board nor the Ohio Department of Education made any immediate changes to the book list that is suggested, not required, in Common Core curriculum standards being implemented by Ohio and other states to better prepare students for college. The Bluest Eye is on the list for 11th-grade English/language arts.