BYRAM, Miss. (AP) — A Mississippi school district has begun a hearing for an assistant principal who was fired after reading a book called “I Need a New Butt” to second grade students.
Toby Price is trying to regain his job at Gary Road Elementary School in the Jackson suburb of Byram.
On the first day of Price’s employment appeal hearing Monday, Hinds County School District Superintendent Delesicia Martin told WLBT-TV that some teachers were anxious about how parents would react if they learned Price had read aloud a book about a child who tries to find a new backside.
The book by Dawn McMillan is illustrated with cartoons that show the character considering an armor-plated butt, a rocket butt and a robot butt.
“The teachers had stated that the content of the book was inappropriate,” Martin said. In response to questions, she said no students or parents had complained.
Price has been an educator for two decades and was assistant principal at Gary Road Elementary for three years before he was fired three weeks ago.
“I Need a New Butt” has a suggested age range from 4 to 10 years, and Price said he had read the light-hearted book at previous school districts without hearing complaints.
During the hearing Monday, Price’s attorney listed other books in the Gary Road Elementary library that have similar themes or illustrations, including “Captain Underpants.”
Price said he is strengthened by support from the public, including letters from parents and grandparents that show children reading the book.
The hearing is scheduled to resume next week.