JACKSON, Miss. – An assistant principal in Mississippi was fired after he read a book to a second-grade classroom called, “I Need a New Butt!”
Toby Price, who was the assistant principal at Gary Road Elementary School, stepped in to read a book to the class when a guest scheduled to read to the children did not show, The Washington Post reported. Price reached for one of his favorite books, “I Need a New Butt!” by Dawn McMillan.
“It’s a funny, silly book,” Price told The Washington Post. “I’m a firm believer that … if kids see that books can be funny and silly, they’ll hang around long enough to see all the other cool things that books can be.”
Price told WLBT he had read the book to classrooms in previous school districts before and had never had any pushback or complaints from the administration or parents.
“I didn’t think twice about reading it because I’ve never had an issue with it before. There are other books that have much more suggestive material that are much more widely accepted,” Price told WLBT.
Minutes after the class ended, Price was called into the principal’s office and sent home on administrative leave, The Washington Post reported. Two days later, he was fired.
The letter sent to Price, which was posted online by an organization protesting his firing, says in part, “During the reading of this book, you read inappropriate words like “fart” as the story detailed as the boy had developed the huge crack when a fart had ‘blew his butt apart and split it clean in two.’ You also shared inappropriate pictures that depicted the boy’s naked butt … Your actions showed a lack of professionalism and impaired judgement. Based on these incidents, the district can no longer trust you to complete your job responsibilities.”
“I just think that, you know, this was a pretty harsh reaction. I’ve been in education for 20 years. I’ve never had a disciplinary anything put in my file … So I was blown away,” Price told WLBT.
Price is fighting to overturn his firing, and a GoFundMe he started to pay for living expenses and attorneys fees raised more than $26,000 by Friday.