I had originally hoped to do this post as a reflection of the Lisa Baldwin Interview, however we were never able to get her responses to our questions so it will instead be on the Eric Grant interview. Eric Grant was not closely involved in this case, so he was mostly only able to give us information on the general process. He was also interviewed about this case before the MTAC decision was made along with the complaining parent, Tim Coley by WLOS. Eric Grant is the Head of 6-12 English Language Arts for Buncombe County Schools and is only directly involved with book challenges if the parent challenges the initial school level MTAC decision. He provided us with the Board Policy regarding book challenges and had this to say regarding The Bluest Eye case and his role:

“In the case of The Bluest Eye, the school MTAC Committee met and reviewed the complaint and the materials. They decided to leave the text intact for classroom use for a 12th grade English Advanced Placement course only. That decision was supported by the complainant so the challenge stopped at the school level.

“My role proved to be fairly limited. I met with the school to outline the process prior to the school MTAC committee and to answer any questions that they had. Because the first step is for the school-based committee to meet, I did not participate in that meeting. Since it did not reach the county level, I did not need to get further involved.”

And, of The Bluest Eye he had this to say:

It’s themes around power and around how society defines beauty are very powerful.

When we asked him his opinion of the book more specifically he described it as “great literature” and said that it gave students “opportunity to understand a culture and an experience different from what most of them have experienced.” He also said that he found the process currently used by Buncombe County Schools held a fair balance between allowing “parents to have their voices heard” and also allowing the school committee to “apply their educational expertise.” He did not specifically say if he agreed with the schools decision, but he implied that he trusted the process to find a balance between parental concerns and opinions and the educational benefits of a text.