HUDSON, Ohio (WJW) – A book found on the shelves of the library at Hudson High School is sparking new debate about the possibility that students are being exposed to adult content.
Speaking at the Hudson Board of Education meeting on Monday, a parent raised concern about the book that contains sexually explicit and hate-filled language and images.
“Lawn Boy. Anybody? Lawn Boy. This is disgusting, this book is disgusting,” said the woman, as she held up a copy of the book.
The parent, who says she would not give her full name or address after receiving threatening mail when she spoke at an earlier board meeting, challenged school administrators to remove the book, and to find out how it ended up in the library.
“That’s how quickly this stuff, this smut, is in our children’s hands, and it doesn’t necessarily fall on you guys, but it falls on somebody. Who’s going to be held accountable for this? This needs to stop,” she said. “This is not political, this is about our children.”
The discussion about the book comes on the heels of intense debate over the use of a writing journal called “642 Things to Write About” in a college credit English class offered at Hudson High School through Hiram College.
The topics suggested in the journal included some that are sexual in nature, and others that explore extreme violence.
At Monday’s board meeting, Hudson Superintendent Phil Herman reminded parents that the district quickly removed the writing journal from the classroom after being alerted by parents.
“We appreciate when our students and our parents or community members share concerns or feedback with us,” he said.
On Thursday, the superintendent responded to questions about the explicit book found in the library, issuing a statement that reads in part:
“I am deeply troubled about the content that was brought to our attention, particularly the blatantly sexual drawings. This clearly requires further review, which is already underway. We will remove these books from circulation until that process is completed. In addition, I am establishing a review of the process we use to add books to our libraries and how these particular books became part of our high school library collection. While we want to make sure we continue to provide our students with a broad range of materials designed to foster knowledge and broaden their world view, we also want to select materials that clearly contribute to educational or personal growth.”
As the debate over the content that students may have access to continues, some Hudson residents are questioning how the school board and administrators allowed the materials into the school or why they were unaware of their presence.
Others, however, view the moral outrage as a political weapon during a campaign season that has led to death threats.
“We can certainly have a disagreement about curriculum and resolve it as well-meaning adults, but to accuse such people of child pornography and grooming was baseless and malicious. It has incited threats of violence and created a state of fear in this community,” said longtime Hudson teacher Marty Bach.
The school district is awaiting the results of an independent investigation commissioned earlier this month to find out how certain materials, including the controversial writing journal from Hiram College, became part of the curriculum at the high school.