A Mississippi school district upheld a decision to fire an administrator for reading a book called “I Need a New Butt!” to second-graders — but the booted administrator vowed to take the fight to court.
Toby Price was sacked as assistant principal at Gary Road Elementary in Byram in March, but he appealed the Hinds County superintendent’s decision and only found out how the school board voted this week, the Clarion-Ledger reported.
Price had reportedly been asked to step in and read to youngsters during a Zoom class after the scheduled reader — the principal — didn’t show.
“I was asked to read … and here we are,” he told the paper this week. “I’m just really sad. I don’t think it had to happen this way.”
The two-decade veteran of education told the Ledger he’s planning to sue in order to get his job back.
Price had said the “silly” book by Dawn McMillan was “one of his favorites” but Superintendent Delesicia Martin said it crossed a line by showing “private areas of the body.”
Hinds School Board members held a hearing on Price’s appeal April 28, then voted on his fate in a closed-door session. The board’s 12-page decision was just handed to the fired educator on Monday, the Ledger reported.
Of five members of the school board, only two voted to uphold the firing, with two people abstaining and one person voting against upholding, according to the paper.
“He does not see the problems associated with a school administrator desensitizing both adult nudity and child nudity by exposing it to children under his care,” the decision said.
“At a minimum, it conditions children to believe all types of actions are nothing to be concerned about — they are just funny. However, these activities are dangerous for children.”
The board claimed one child pulled down their pants in class and repeatedly used the word “butt” while knocking on an administrator’s door after being read the story, the Ledger said.
The book outlines a young boy’s journey to find a new rear after he notices “his butt has a huge crack,” according to its publisher’s description.
The description goes on to say this “quirky tale of a tail” features rhymes and illustrations and promises children and parents will love the book “no ifs, ands, or butts about it!”
With Post wires