An elementary school assistant principal in Mississippi was fired last week after reading a children’s book called “I Need a New Butt!” to students.
However, the former administrator doesn’t understand the reasoning behind his termination, and he’s speaking out.
Earlier this month, Toby Price, assistant principal of Gary Road Elementary School, was fired after reading the children’s book “I Need a New Butt!” to a group of second-graders.
“My boss had asked me to set up a Zoom with the second-grade classes and the principal at the school they’re going to be at next year, and she was going to read to them. And she didn’t show,” Price said. “My boss told me, ‘Go ahead and read.’ I grabbed one of my favorite books that I had nearby. I read it to them. It’s a funny, silly book.”
Price says he had read this book at previous school districts before but never heard any push-back or complaints.
“I didn’t think twice about reading it because I’ve never had an issue reading it before,” he said. “There are other books that have much more suggestive material that are much more widely accepted.”
A young boy suddenly notices a big problem — his butt has a huge crack! So he sets off to find a new one. Will he choose an armor-plated butt? A rocket butt? A robot butt? Find out in this quirky tale of a tail, which features hilarious rhymes and delightful illustrations. Children and parents will love this book — no ifs, ands, or butts about it!
— From Amazon
According to Price’s termination letter from the superintendent of the Hinds County School District, Price showed “a lack of professionalism and impaired judgment” by picking the book, and for those reasons, he is fired.
3 on Your Side asked the school district for a statement about Price’s firing, but the superintendent declined to comment.
“I just think that, you know, this was a pretty harsh reaction,” Price said. “I’ve been in education for 20 years. I’ve never had a disciplinary anything put in my file and I didn’t for being late. So I was blown away.”
In response to Price’s situation, children’s book authors, teachers, and librarians have messaged and posted on social media stating the book is “hilarious and sweet”, “joyful and fun” and “lighthearted,” and that the superintendent’s decision was wrong.
Now, Price is hoping to overturn their decision, get his job back, and teach others that funny books are needed in education.
“If you don’t let kids see funny and silly books, they’re not going to stick around long enough to find out that books can be other things than funny and silly,” he said. “You have to hook them with the funny and silly stuff. And that’s what I’ve always done. That’s what this book was for.”
Price is reportedly appealing his termination and has hired a lawyer.
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