Eric Grant Interview


Interview of Eric Grant, Head of 6-12 English Language Arts Curriculum for Buncombe County Schools, March 6, 2018. Interviewed via E-mail by Rosanna Garris.

RG: We are mostly interested in the process that a book goes through when being challenged, and specifically what that looked like in the case of The Bluest Eye.

EG: Here are the steps as outlined in Board Policy 3210:

If a complaint is made on a material other than a state adopted text, the procedures are as follows:

  1. The principal shall inform the complainant of the selection procedures and request that the complainant file his/her objections in writing by completing the Request for the Reconsideration of Instructional Resources form (see Administrative Regulation 3210R). The complaint shall be forwarded to the school’s Media/Technology Advisory Committee [MTAC] (“Building Level Committee”). The Committee shall consist of at least the following individuals: a site based administrator; a parent; a teacher; and a Coordinator.
  2. Upon receipt of a complaint, the Building Level Committee shall conduct the following review:
  • examine the item and the objection;
  • survey reviews of the item in professional reviewing sources when possible;
  • determine the extent to which the item supports the curriculum, weigh the merits against the alleged weaknesses and consider the whole item instead of isolated passages;
  • discuss the item and prepare a written report of the findings and determination;
  • send copies of the report to the school principal and complainant; and
  • The report shall be issued no more than fifteen (15) school days from the time the written objection is filed with the principal.
  1. If the complainant is not satisfied with the Building Level Committee’s determination, within ten (10) school days of receipt of that determination, the complainant may appeal to the Board of Education by filing a Request for Review of Building-Level Recommendation (see Administrative Regulation 3210R). Following the steps outlined in Section Two, the Community Media/Technology Advisory Committee (“Community Committee”) will re-examine all documentation from the Building Level Committee and conduct any further investigation as it deems appropriate. Within fifteen (15) school days following receipt of the complainant’s appeal, or unless additional time is needed based on further investigation, the Community Committee will prepare a written report of its findings and recommendation and report directly to the Board of Education.
  2. The Board of Education shall review the Community Committee’s report and conduct any further investigations as it deems appropriate. The Board of Education shall make a final determination within thirty (30) business days after receiving the Community Committee’s written report.
  3. Unless otherwise stated by the Board of Education, determinations regarding challenged instructional material shall be limited to the individual school and not across the entire school system. Policy Code: 3210 {CS: 00020365.DOC} BOARD OF EDUCATION POLICY MANUAL Page 3 of 3 6. No instructional materials shall be removed from the classroom or media collection until the appeal procedure is completed.

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.

RG: We’d also like to know about your role in this process  as well as other people who played instrumental roles.

EG: 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.

RG: We’d also love to hear your opinions on the book, the challenge, and the process.

EG: As with much great literature, this book provides students the opportunity to understand a culture and an experience different from what most of them have experienced. Certainly, there is some difficult content that can be a challenge for some students and families.

In general, the process has been effective in allowing a school-based committee determine what is appropriate for their students. The process allows for a thorough and fair opportunity for parents to have their voices heard while providing opportunity for schools to apply their educational expertise to such decision.

RG: We’d also be very appreciative of any materials or paperwork related to the case that you could give us copies of.

EG: I think that you would have to go through the school and/or BCS Communications for that.


Further questions from March 9, 2018.

RG: Have you read The Bluest Eye?

EG: Yes, I have read The Bluest Eye. It’s themes around power and around how society defines beauty are very powerful.


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