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Fairfax County school board rejects request to ban 'Beloved'

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Local,Virginia,Education,Rachel Baye

Fairfax County school officials have denied a parent's request to ban Toni Morrison's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel Beloved.

Set in the years following the American Civil War, the book tells the story of an escaped slave who kills her 2-year-old daughter to prevent her from being recaptured into slavery.

As a result of the book's graphic depictions of slavery and racism, Laura Murphy, the advanced academic chairman of the Lake Braddock Secondary School Parent Teacher Student Association, expressed concerns that the book is not appropriate for high school students to be reading and petitioned for the book to be banned from the school's AP and Honors English classes.

After Murphy's request was rejected by the school system's Instructional Services Department and Superintendent Jack Dale, Murphy appealed to the county school board. For her request to be successful, at least four of the 12 School Board members needed to read the book and decide it should be banned.

But after eight board members read the book, Murphy did not get the necessary votes, School Board Chairman Ilryong Moon wrote in a letter dated Wednesday, and the book will remain part of the school system's curriculum.

Murphy could not be reached for comment.

Fairfax County Public Schools has not banned any books, although they have restricted some materials to be taught only to older students, according to schools spokeswoman Mary Shaw.

rbaye@washingtonexaminer.com

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