Hinds County School District holds hearing for fired administrator

Published: Mar. 21, 2022 at 10:42 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - A strong debate between the Hinds County School District and former assistant vice principal Toby Price took place Monday as to whether or not Price’s decision to read “I need a New Butt!” was a fireable offense.

And the school district’s superintendent says her decision came after speaking with other educators.

“The teachers had stated that the content of the book was inappropriate, and several of the teachers had indicated some of their disconcert and were very anxious about what was going to happen when parents found out,” said Delesicia Martin, Superintendent Hinds Co. School District.

However, when asked if any parents or students complained about the book being read - she said no.

Martin claims the book did, however, depict a boy violating school policy and believes it could encourage a student to do the same.

“If a student was to expose their nude bottom in Hinds County School District, that would violate our rules,” she stated.

Price’s attorney then proceeded to list other books in Gary Road’s Library that also depict similar images such as “No, David” and “Captain Underpants”.

Price’s witness, a professor of the Practice of Literacy with Vanderbilt University, says he believes that the book gets children who are reluctant about reading interested in turning the pages.

“This is a book that is going to be appealing to kids and they’ll find funny. And I think it’s wholly appropriate to use that in a classroom with kids because we know that’s going to hook them in as readers,”| he said. “They’re going to be excited about reading it, you know, they’re going to get a laugh out of it, and, you know, the kids are probably going to want to pick up and find other books in that series to read.”

Price says even though he hasn’t testified, he’s already tired of the battle - but is strengthened by the overwhelming support from the public.

“All the support has been wonderful and it totally makes it worth it. The letters that kids have written and parents have written and grandparent have written and pictures they keep all sending me, showing me pictures of their kids reading the book. That helps a lot.”

The hearing will continue next Monday, where more witnesses will speak on behalf of both sides.

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