A school district in California removed Pulitzer Prize-winning author Toni Morrison’s first novel “The Bluest Eye” from its high school curriculum on Feb. 6 due to its “graphic sexual content.” Teachers in schools under the district will no longer discuss the book with their students.

The Colton Joint Unified School District adopted the measure after some parents complained. Some teachers and students, however, still want the novel to be a part of the syllabus.

“It’s awful..it’s awful what’s the protagonist goes through yet..you know, yet how important to talk about,” Colton High School teacher Lucy Layva told ABC 7. "I'm upset and hurt that they cannot trust what we as teachers know is best for our students."

The school district said parents were intimated whenever a controversial book is introduced in the syllabus and asked whether they want to opt out of it. The school board heeded the complaints from parents and put a ban on it.

"They listened to the parents who came to them and were concerned about the graphic sexual violence that was portrayed in the book," Katie Orloff, staff member of a school in Colton Joint Unified School District, said.

The book, written in 1970, is a coming-of-age narrative of an African-American female protagonist’s life during the time of the Great Depression. She was described as being raped by her own father in a drunk in a very sexually explicit scene.

Student Isaiah Enriquez said the problem of racism is still ingrained in society. “It's like we're trying to pretend the problem doesn't exist when it really does," he said.

The school district said the book still was available to students in the school libraries. Students could also read it through the digital library, albeit without the guidance of a teacher.

Toni Morrison
Pulitzer Prize-winning author Toni Morrison photographed in New York City in 1979. Jack Mitchell/Getty Images