The mayor of Hudson, Ohio, said he is asking all five school board members to resign or face potential criminal charges over high school course material that was described as “child pornography” by a local judge.
“It has come to my attention that your educators are distributing essentially what is child pornography in the classroom,” Mayor Craig Shubert told the Hudson City Schools board, which oversees Hudson High School, according to video footage. “I’ve spoken to a judge this evening. She’s already confirmed that. So I’m going to give you a simple choice: You either choose to resign from this board of education or you will be charged.”
The incident stemmed from parents saying their children received an inappropriate writing prompt assignment found inside the book, “642 Things to Write About,” in a liberal arts class.
According to Amazon reviews of the book, several of the writing prompts include describing sex or similar topics, while others warned that it isn’t meant for younger writers or students. Another prompt asked students to drink a beer and describe how it tastes or how to commit a murder, reports said.
“Do not sexualize our kids! The raw filth that snuck past the gatekeeping functions of this board of ed. in ‘642 Reasons’ was disgusting,” parent Morris Norman said at the Hudson board meeting, reported News5.
“I asked my daughter if she had been reading a book with inappropriate stuff in it and she said yes,” Monica Havens, a mother of a student who saw the book, told the Akron Beacon Journal.
During the meeting on Monday, Principal Brian Wilch apologized and said teachers “overlooked several writing prompts among the 642” in the book that “are not appropriate for our high school audience.” However, he contended that “at no time were any of these inappropriate prompts selected or discussed, but still they were there and they were viewable, and you can’t unsee them,” reported the Akron Beacon Journal.
But parents, including Norman, said they weren’t convinced.
“The students were told not to take the book home. Why? So their parents couldn’t see it,” said Norman.
“A parent found that book in their child’s backpack,” said Amanda Kocher, vice-chair of Moms for Liberty Summit County, according to the station.
Another parent said that while the book is problematic, parents don’t know what teachers are telling students.
“We don’t know what’s going on in those classrooms. We don’t know the curriculum. We don’t know what is being said to our kids,” Eric Durker, the parent, said during the meeting. One way to remedy the problem is by placing cameras in all classrooms.
It’s not clear whether the school board or staff could be held criminally liable for curriculum, said an attorney with the Ohio School Boards Association.
“We’ve never heard of criminal charges [filed against a school board] for curriculum,” said Ralph Lusher, the lawyer, to the Beacon Journal.
The Epoch Times has contacted the Hudson High School for comment.