NORFOLK, Neb. -- A book inside of Norfolk Public High School's library was a subject of discussion Monday night at the board of education meeting.

The book in question is "The Bluest Eye" a 1970 novel written by Toni Morrison.

The story is about a young African American girl named Pecola Breedlove in 1941 who wishes she had blonde hair and blue eyes, which she believes would allow her to fit in with other children.

The novel is the third most challenged book in the United States, according to the American Library Association, due to its depiction of sexual abuse, claims of it being sexually explicit, and its equality, diversity, and inclusion content. 

Monday night's discussion came following the Nebraska State Board of Education's decision to reject a motion that would define and ban sexually explicit material from school libraries.

Kirk Penner, a member of the Nebraska State Board of Education who proposed the motion, listed "The Bluest Eye" as a novel available to high school students at Norfolk Public Schools (NPS) during his board's discussion.

This prompted a member of the Norfolk community, Abe Schoenherr, to address the board with his concerns that such a book was available to NPS students.

"To think that any of this material might even possibly be available to minors, I hope this information is wrong in that it's in any of our schools, not just Norfolk Public Schools, but in the state anywhere," Schoenherr said. "If any of this stuff is in our schools, I pray that you are diligent."

However, his opinion was challenged by another member of the community, Jennifer Ippensen, a former teacher and librarian.

Ippensen argued that pulling books that contain material deemed obscene by others when the "Miller Test" is already used by librarians and media specialists would be going too far.

"We do not want our school to engage in censorship," Ippensen said. "Our students have the right to access information. So, I would ask that our district not get sucked into the national talking points targeting school libraries and instead uphold the freedom to read and our student's right to access information."

Dr. Jami Jo Thompson, the NPS Superintendent, stated they were aware of the book and would be pulling "The Bluest Eye" from circulation to be reviewed by media specialists based on their current selection criteria. 

Their review will determine whether or not the book is to be removed from the NPS library.