Book ban fears escalate after deputy director fired over book

For Toby Price, a book changed his life. “It’s the story of a young man realizing, ‘I’ve got a crack there. How did that happen?'” Price said. “And he’s going to buy butts and they have issues with the fact that there are butts in the book.” Price lost his job as vice principal at Gary Road Elementary School after reading the children’s book ‘I Need a New Ass’ to a second grade class after a guest reader canceled at the last minute. “Same day I found myself at the district office (of Hinds County School) suspended with pay. Two days later back at the district office – fired because I read that book,” Price said. Price appealed, but the school board sided with the superintendent. “The connection between his story and what’s happening everywhere is what happens when everyone is so scared,” said Jonathan Friedman of Pen America. According to Pen America, an organization that intersects literature and free speech, this fear is tied to a recent trend over the past year of parents and politicians calling for certain books to be banned. Friedman said. The town of Ridgeland made national headlines this year after Mayor Gene McGee withheld nearly $100,000 in funding from the town’s public library for children’s books some deemed inappropriate – a problem that has since been solved. More recently, in Madison County schools, a handful of parents challenged 22 books at various middle and high schools, several of which deal with race in America. One of the books is “The Hate U Give,” by local author Angie Thomas. Wright, director of communications for the Madison County School District. It is district policy that when a book is challenged, it is placed in a restricted section that requires the permission from a parent to be read. A review team of teachers and parents will read each book to decide whether it remains restricted, re-posted, or removed. A solution that some experts qualify as undemocratic. “Students may have an interest in understanding a subject. They may have questions about something they want to ask their teachers and they are about to end up with walls of silence or empty library shelves where they cannot. can’t find that information,” Friedman said. But some parents say it should be their choice to educate their children about certain topics, not a book in school. This debate is complex, which in some cases , puts even more pressure on schools already dealing with politics seeping into the classroom.A book ended Toby Price’s educational career, his own book could spark a new one.Last month, he signed a deal to write a book for children with autism, and his dream was inspired by his own three children, two of whom have autism.

For Toby Price, a book changed his life.

“It’s the story of a young man realizing, ‘I’ve got a crack there. How did that happen?'” Price said. “And he’s going to buy butts and they have issues with the fact that there are butts in the book.”

Price lost his job as vice principal at Gary Road Elementary School after reading the children’s book ‘I Need a New Ass’ to a second grade class after a guest reader canceled at the last minute.

“Same day I found myself at the district office (of Hinds County School) suspended with pay. Two days later back at the district office – fired because I read that book,” Price said.

Price appealed, but the school board sided with the superintendent.

“The connection between his story and what’s happening everywhere is what happens when everyone is so scared,” said Jonathan Friedman of Pen America.

According to Pen America, an organization that intersects literature and free speech, this fear is linked to a recent trend over the past year of parents and politicians calling for certain books to be banned.

“There’s a new kind of organizing among parent groups, especially online, sharing lists of books they’d like to get out of schools,” Friedman said.

The town of Ridgeland made national headlines this year after Mayor Gene McGee withheld nearly $100,000 in funding from the town’s public library for children’s books deemed inappropriate – an issue that has since been resolved. .

More recently, in Madison County Schools, a handful of parents challenged 22 books at various middle and high schools, including several about race in America. One of the books is “The Hate U Give”, by local author Angie Thomas.

“Our district both believes in the free exchange of ideas and also respects that parents should have a say in what their children read,” said Gene Wright, director of communications for the Madison County School District. .

District policy is that when a book is challenged, it is placed in a restricted section that requires a parent’s permission to be read. A review team of teachers and parents will read each book to decide whether it remains restricted, re-posted, or removed. A solution that some experts describe as undemocratic.

“Students might be interested in understanding a subject. They might have questions about something they want to ask their professors and they’re about to end up with walls of silence or empty library shelves where they don’t can’t find that information,” Friedman said.

But some parents say it should be their choice to educate their children on certain subjects, not a book in school. This debate is complex, which in some cases puts even more pressure on schools that are already managing the policy by creeping into the classroom.

“It’s fear. What happens when schools are driven by fear: People lose their jobs,” Friedman said.

While one book ended Toby Price’s educational career, his own book could spark a new one. Last month, he signed a deal to write a book for children with autism. Her dream was inspired by her own three children, two of whom have autism.

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