A North Carolina Board of Education voted 6-1 to rescind the ban on Ralph Ellison’s classic tome “Invisible Man” on Wednesday after a high school’s story went viral.
Following a parent complaint, the board voted earlier this month to ban the book from its library, but the story gained national attention and brought quite a bit of negative attention to the school. Several of the board members who originally voted for the book’s ban said that they re-read the book after the meeting, and some say they began to question their decisions concerning the vote and their own morals.
“I can’t cast them on someone else; it’s the job of parents to do so,” said board member Tracy Boyles.
The main issue with the book’s content was the descriptions of rape and incest and the strong language used, although it has been on summer and required reading lists for schools all over the country for years. Parent Kimiyutta Parson supplied the initial complaint with a 12-page document giving her reasons for the book’s removal from the library.
“The narrator writes in the first person, emphasizing his individual experiences and his feelings about the events portrayed in his life. This novel is not so innocent; instead, this book is filthier, too much for teenagers. You must respect all religions and point of views when it comes to the parents and what they feel is age appropriate for their young children to read, without their knowledge. This book is freely in your library for them to read,” she wrote.
The book is now available in Randolph County Schools once again, and Superintendent Dr. Stephen Gainey hopes that they can move on.
“We want to do what’s right for the kids and resolve this issue. I respect your opinions. I do want to get back to the No. 1 prized possession, what’s right for kids,” Gainey said.
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