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After initial confusion Brunswick Co. School Board votes to keep ‘The Color Purple’

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.

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