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An Ohio mayor has given his local school board an ultimatum: resign or face possible criminal charges.
The threat was issued Monday night during a board of education meeting in Hudson, Ohio, where community members expressed outrage over racy classroom assignments. According to USA Today, the controversy began after high school students received 642 Things to Write About—a book that contained writing prompts that some considered inappropriate for teens. One prompt called on students to “write a sex scene you wouldn’t show your mom,” and another asked them to “rewrite the sex scene from above into one that you’d let your mom read.”
The book was reportedly given to Hudson High School seniors who were enrolled in the college credit course Writing in the Liberal Arts II. The book also contained a prompt that asked students to drink a beer and write about the way it tastes, as well as “Describe a time when you wanted to orgasm but couldn’t,” “Describe your favorite part of a man’s body using only verbs,” and “Write a letter from the point of view of a drug addict.”
“It has come to my attention that your educators are distributing essentially what is child pornography in the classroom,” Mayor Craig Shubert said during the meeting. “I’ve spoken to a judge this evening and she’s already confirmed that. So I’m going to give you a simple choice: either choose to resign from this board of education or you will be charged.”
It’s unclear what repercussions the school board members could face; however, Ralph Lusher, staff attorney with the Ohio School Boards Association, said criminal charges were “unlikely.”
Hudson City Schools Superintendent Phil Herman described the writing prompts as “inappropriate and offensive,” and told parents the book in question was removed from the school earlier this week.
“The district immediately determined this writing resource should not be in the hands of our students, and on Monday, collected the books from the students enrolled in the course,” Herman said. “It is important to note that at no time were any of these inappropriate writing prompts assigned as part of the class.”
Hudson High School principal Brian Wilch has since apologized to parents over the material, which has reportedly been used in the past.
“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 said. “…We feel terrible. At no time were any of these inappropriate prompts selected or discussed, but still they were there and they were viewable, and you can’t unsee them.”