An assistant director in Byram, Mississippi, was fired last week after he published the children’s book “I Need a New Butt!” had read. for a group of second graders.
Toby Price, who was fired from Gary Road Elementary School earlier this week, told Insider he had been asked to set up a Zoom class for the students. He said a guest reader who was supposed to read a book to the children never showed up. The director asked him to read a book instead.
“So I picked up a book I had nearby that I loved, ‘I Need a New Butt!’ and I read it to them. It was fast. It’s a short book,” said Price.
“I need a new ass!” was written by Dawn McMillan and published in 2014. Described as a children’s book, it tells the story of a child who thinks he needs a new ass after discovering that it has a crack in it.
About fifteen minutes after class, the principal called Price to his office and said he was afraid parents would complain about the book. Half an hour after that meeting, Price was called to the district office to meet with the superintendent and an assistant superintendent.
“For want of a better word, they took me out for reading this book. It has words like fart and ass in it. ‘Is this the kind of thing you find funny?'” Price said they asked him. “And I said, ‘Well before I got here, yeah.'”
He was sent home on administrative leave and two days later he was fired.
“The inspector kept saying, ‘You know, I can’t get past this. I can’t get past this,” Price said. “I’ve never had a red flag or anything on my file in the 20 years I’ve been doing this. I expected it to be a writing or coaching session, an admonition, something like that. be terminated.”
He said he was fired for the language in the book and was told that reading such a book was “poor professional judgment.”—PEN America (@PENamerica) March 10, 2022
Price said he was told he could resign, but after speaking to his wife, he declined: “She said, ‘When you resign it’s almost like saying they were right and you shouldn’t have. to do’.
Price said the students enjoyed the book and that, to his knowledge, no parents have complained. Some have even reached out to say they liked the book, he said.
“I always tell people that kids need fun and crazy books. It’s how you talk to them. It’s how you get their attention,” Price said. “Because most kids think that reading is boring, but if you can show them that it can be fun and crazy, that’s how you hook them. And hopefully if you hold them that way, they’ll be in the stay around and discover that books are so many other truly wonderful things.”
Price, who has been a teacher for 20 years, said he got a lawyer and hopes he can get his job back.
“I have three children, two with autism. I have a mortgage and bills to pay, but at the same time I’d be lying to you if I said I wasn’t terrified of going back because it would be a very tense environment.” , he said.
At the very least, he hopes to have the termination of his criminal record expunged so that he can get another job.
He also fears that this incident could lead to teachers being too careful about which books they read to students, or even causing some to leave the field.
“It’s kind of scary because it sets a really dangerous precedent,” he said, adding: “If you can pick up a book and read it and they can say ‘you know what, you shouldn’t have done that, you’re fired,” educators everywhere will think twice before ever picking up a book again.”
“It’s not right. The kids need funny, crazy books. They just have. The world is a dark place. They have to laugh. We all have to laugh.”
Hinds County School District did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
This post Elementary school teacher fired for reading ‘I need a new ass!’ was original published at “https://www.insider.com/elementary-school-educator-fired-reading-i-need-new-butt-2022-3”