AP

Mississippi school board upholds firing over ‘New Butt’ book

May 11, 2022, 10:39 PM | Updated: May 12, 2022, 10:44 am

FILE - Toby Price, a former assistant principal at Gary Road Elementary School in Byram, Miss., tes...

FILE - Toby Price, a former assistant principal at Gary Road Elementary School in Byram, Miss., testifies during an appeal hearing at the Hinds County Schools administration building in Raymond, Miss., Monday, March 28, 2022, regarding his dismissal after reading the children's book he's holding, "I Need a New Butt!" by Dawn McMillan. Price told the Clarion Ledger he received a 12-page order Monday, May 11, 2022, showing the Hinds County School Board had voted 2-1 to uphold the superintendent's decision to fire him in March. He was assistant principal at Gary Road Elementary in the Jackson suburb of Byram.(Barbara Gauntt/The Clarion-Ledger via AP, File)

(Barbara Gauntt/The Clarion-Ledger via AP, File)

BYRAM, Miss. (AP) — A Mississippi educator who was fired for reading a children’s book called “I Need a New Butt!” to second graders says he will go to court to try to get his job back.

Toby Price told the Clarion Ledger he received a 12-page order Monday showing the Hinds County School Board had voted 2-1 in late April to uphold the superintendent’s decision to fire him in March. He was assistant principal at Gary Road Elementary in the Jackson suburb of Byram.

Price was initially suspended with pay but later fired after reading the book over Zoom. The book, by Dawn McMillan, chronicles a child’s journey to find a new backside. It is illustrated with cartoons that show the character considering an armor-plated butt, a rocket butt and a robot butt.

While Price was appealing, Superintendent Delesicia Martin called the book “inappropriate” because it showed “private areas of the body.”

Price, an educator for two decades, described the book as “silly” and said: “The kids are in on the joke as they read it.”

Teachers have been under increased scrutiny nationwide — particularly in Republican-led states — as advocates push book challenges and bans in an attempt to restrict how students are taught certain subjects, particularly around racism, sexuality and gender.

Following his appeal hearing, the school board met April 28 and heard from Price, his attorneys and school district officials. Board members then went into a closed session and with two of the five members abstaining, voted to uphold his firing.

“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 board wrote. “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 said “I Need a New Butt!” showed inappropriate activities such as an adult painting on a child’s exposed bottom, an activity that would require a report to the state Department of Human Services for child abuse or neglect, the board wrote.

Price’s attorney listed other books in the school’s library that have similar themes or illustrations, including “Captain Underpants.”

Price posted a short poem on Twitter referring to the superintendent’s decision, saying: “Price’s work in education lasted almost twenty years / All it took was one silly book to end his career. / Giving that kind of power to one single person / Will only cause education and teaching to worsen.”

Then, he posted an update: “Two voted yes. One voted no. Two said nothing. So Price had to go.”

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Image: The Alabama State Capitol is seen on May 15, 2019 in Montgomery, Alabama....

Associated Press

Alabama Supreme Court rules frozen embryos are ‘children’ under state law

Critics say the Alabama embryo ruling may have sweeping implications for fertility treatments.

15 hours ago

Image: People take cover during a shooting at Union Station during the Kansas City Chiefs Super Bow...

Associated Press

Two men charged with murder at Kansas City Chiefs parade

Minutes after Kansas City Chiefs players spoke at a victory celebration Wednesday, multiple people near the parade route were carried away on stretchers.

16 hours ago

Image: A sign is on display above an ATM at a Capital One Café in Miami on Monday, Feb. 19, 2024. ...

Associated Press

Capital One to buy Discover for $35B in deal combining major US credit card companies

The deal would bring together two of the nation's credit card companies as well as potentially shake up the payments industry.

22 hours ago

Image: The Minnesota state flag is displayed in the state Capitol building rotunda, March 24, 2022,...

Associated Press

2 officers, 1 first responder killed at the scene of a domestic call in Minnesota; suspect dead

Two police officers and one first responder were shot and killed early Sunday while responding to a domestic abuse call in a Minneapolis suburb.

3 days ago

Image: Former President Donald Trump attends the closing arguments in the Trump Organization civil ...

Associated Press

Donald Trump fraud verdict: $364 million penalty in civil fraud case

A New York judge ruled Friday against Donald Trump, imposing a $364 million penalty over what was ruled was a yearslong scheme to dupe banks and others.

5 days ago

Image: Travis Kelce of the Kansas City Chiefs, left, celebrates with Taylor Swift after defeating t...

Associated Press

Taylor Swift gives $100K to family of woman killed in Chiefs parade shooting

Taylor Swift donated $100,000 to the family of Lisa Lopez-Galvan, the woman killed in the shooting at the Kansas City Chiefs' Super Bowl victory parade.

5 days ago

Mississippi school board upholds firing over ‘New Butt’ book