The mayor of Hudson, Ohio, delivered a sensational ultimatum to the members of the city’s Board of Education Monday night, telling them all to either resign or face potential criminal charges over what he described as “child pornography” in a high school course.
“It has come to my attention that your educators are distributing essentially what is child pornography in the classroom,” Mayor Craig Shubert said. “I’ve spoken to the judge this evening. She’s already confirmed that. So I’m going to give you a simple choice: Either you choose to resign from this board of education, or you will be charged. Thank you.”
The content in question came in the form of prompts included in the “642 Things to Write About” book, which is part of the senior-level, college-credit course, Writing in the Liberal Arts II, at Hudson High School, according to the Akron Beacon Journal.
According to the newspaper, the prompts were very inappropriate. One asked readers to “write a sex scene you wouldn’t show your mom” while another urged students to “rewrite the sex scene from above into one that you’d let your mom read.”
Another prompt asked readers to drink a beer a describe how it tastes.
One person said he was “appalled” by the content in the book while another called it “disgusting” and a form or “grooming.”
Superintendent Phil Herman reiterated in a statement that the “inappropriate and offensive writing prompts” were part of a supplement resource used in a senior-level class.
“The district immediately determined this writing resource should not be in the hands of our students, and, on Monday, collected the books from the rudeness enrolled in the course,” he said. “It is important to note that at no time were any of these inappropriate writing prompts assigned as part of the class.”
Herman went on to say the district “sincerely apologize[s]” for the blunder.
“We take great pride in the instructional experience of our students and take very seriously anything that negatively impacts our mission to provide an educational program that provides for the development of each child in a safe, nurturing environment,” he said. “Again, we are reviewing our approval processes to make sure that nothing similar happens in the future.”
The school’s principal, Brian Wilch, said the class is offered in partnership with Hiram College and noted the book has been used in the past.
“We did not exercise due diligence when we reviewed this resource and, as a result, we overlooked several writing prompts among the 642 that are not appropriate for our high school audience,” the principal explained. “[W]e feel terrible. 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.”
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