(Caution: contains some sexual content)
Hudson Mayor Craig Shubert told the Hudson City School District’s Board of Education it should resign – or be charged with “distributing essentially what is child pornography in the classroom.”
The Ohio community uproar led to national media coverage, as the school district had been using an offensive book in a 12th grade course that included inappropriate and sexualized writing prompts. The course gave Hudson High School students dual high school and college credits through its connection with a nearby private liberal arts college, reported the Akron Beacon Journal.
In a succinct statement, the mayor warned the board, “It has come to my attention that your educators are distributing essentially what is child pornography in the classroom,” adding, “I’ve spoken to a judge this evening. She’s already confirmed that. So I’m going to give you a simple choice: You either choose to resign from this board of education or you will be charged. Thank you.”
The uproar began when concerned parents notified the school about the inappropriate book, 642 Things to Write About. Hudson High School Principal Bryan Wilch spoke first about the book at the school board meeting on Monday, September 13.
Wilch said, “I want to apprise the board that late last Friday afternoon, we were made aware of several inappropriate and offensive writing prompts, and this is part of a supplemental resource in a college credit course called, “Writing in the Liberal Arts 2.” This is in association with Hiram College. We teach the class here at Hudson High School.”
He continued, “The resource is called 642 Things to Write About. This resource, which we have used in the past, serves as a source for self-selected student choice writing prompts. And our students typically write nine or ten a quarter, maybe 40 for the year.
“But 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.”
Wilch mentioned that his daughter graduated from the high school and said, “We feel terrible,” commenting that you couldn’t unsee the prompts once you’d read them.
He added, “For this oversight we did issue an apology to our students and parents. We’re in the process of collecting those resources, and we will find a suitable substitute, and obviously we need to do a better job in the future when we review and select resources that are appropriate for high school students.”
About two dozen students, parents and concerned citizens then spoke out about the book and about the school district’s K-12 mask mandate.
One concerned citizen said, “Do not sexualize our kids. The raw filth that snuck past the gatekeeping functions of this board of ed, in 642 Things, was disgusting. Absolutely disgusting. One of the questions they wanted people to write on was to explain a time when you wanted to orgasm but couldn’t. The students were told not to take the book home. Why? So their parents couldn’t see it. You know what that’s called? Grooming. … You know you’ve had that curriculum in use for seven years?
Another father said, “I was appalled when my wife showed me and read to me a few nights ago what our kids are being exposed to.” He called for classroom cameras to show what is being taught in classrooms.
One student said that she and her classmates found out in 10 minutes what was in the 642 Things To Write About, implying that those approving the book could have found out just as easily. She also testified that a class the previous year, which also gave college credit through Hiram College, watched R-rated, sexually explicit movies in the class.
The teacher said that because it was a college course, she could show whatever she wanted, and that the students could not leave the classroom.
One mom, Monica Havens, read out loud some of the prompts, directing them to school board President David Zuro. These included,
- Write a sex scene you wouldn’t show your mom.
- Rewrite the sex scene from above into one that you’d let your mom read.
- Describe your favorite part of a man’s body, using only verbs.
- You’re a brand new suicide hotline counselor. Describe how you feel during your first call.
- Drink a beer. Write about the taste.
Again, these salacious and inappropriate prompts were given to high school seniors.
Havens said, “By the following board meeting, I want to know what the consequences were for providing this material to our children.” She also asked for answers to questions:
- Who will be terminated for this book?
- Where was the book purchased?
- Who made the decision to use the book?
- What teachers have been using this book?
She admonished the board, by concluding, “Each and every one of you should be ashamed.”
The Akron newspaper also reported, “The leader of the Hudson school board said he and his four colleagues don’t intend to resign after the mayor called on them to step down or potentially face criminal charges over material in a high school writing course.”
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