BURKE, Va. (CBSDC)– A request made by a Fairfax County mom to ban a Pulitzer Prize-winning book taught in high schools was denied by the school board Thursday.
Laura Murphy, a 45-year-old mother of four, started questioning the novel after her oldest son said he experienced nightmares because of its content in the 2011-2012 school year.
The plot of “Beloved,” by Toni Morrison, centers around slavery, and contains explicit details about the murder of a child and sexual encounters between characters.
Murphy’s son, however, was an Advanced Placement English student when he was assigned the reading. School officials told The Washington Post that AP English is a college-level course that often deals with adult topics through literature.
Fairfax County has never banned a book completely, although the school system has limited the availability of certain materials to older students, The Post reports.
Murphy’s goal was to get “Beloved” banned until the board could create a new policy for when assigned reading includes questionable material.
An already-in-place policy at Fairfax County schools deals with teachers showing R-rated films in class. Families must be notified and provide written permission for students to participate.
“Beloved” claims the 26th spot on the American Library Association’s list of the top 100 challenged books between 2000 and 2009.
Also on the list: The Harry Potter series, “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.”
WNEW’s Karen Adams contributed to this report. Follow her on Twitter.
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