The assistant principal at a Mississippi school has been fired for reading a children’s book called “I Need a New Butt!” to second-graders.
Toby Price said he was asked to set up a Zoom class for the kids at Gary Road Elementary School in Byram – and that when the principal failed to show up as planned, he was told to read them a book, NBC News reported.
“I text my boss, she said, ‘Well, go ahead and read.’ I wasn’t planning on reading, but I went ahead and grabbed one of my books that I had nearby,” Price told the network.
“One of my favorites. I read it: ‘I Need a New Butt!’ It’s hilarious,” he said, adding that he had read the “fun, silly book” at his previous school and “never had an issue with it.”
He said that “there are other books that have much more suggestive material that are much more widely accepted,” WLBT reported.
But shortly after the class ended, Price said he was summoned to the principal’s office and told that parents might complain about his choice of book. He was then placed on administrative leave.
The bummed educator said that to his knowledge, no parents have complained – but that the Hinds County School District felt it was inappropriate due to its use of words like “butt” and “fart,” the network reported.
The book also reportedly included cartoon images of a child’s hiney.
The school district superintendent wrote in Price’s termination letter that he showed “a lack of professionalism and impaired judgment” for picking the book, according to WLBT.
“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 and I didn’t for being late. So I was blown away,” Price said, WLBT reported.
A description for “I Need a New Butt!” – a children’s book written by Dawn McMillan – says a child tries to find a new butt after he discovers that his “has a huge crack.”
“Will he choose an armor-plated butt? A rocket butt? A robot butt? Find out in this quirky tale of a tail, which features hilarious rhymes and delightful illustrations,” it said.
“Children and parents will love this book — no ifs, ands, or butts about it!” the description adds.
Price said he plans to appeal his firing at a hearing scheduled for March 21.
“I am just looking for some help to pay bills while I look for another job,” he wrote in a GoFundMe account in which he said he has two kids with autism.
As of Thursday, the fund drive raised $7,124 of its $7,500 goal.
“If I had to do it all over again, I’d still share the silly, funny books with the kids, because they need them. The world’s a serious, harsh, dark place, and everybody needs a little bit of silly and a little bit of laughs every now and then,” he said, NBC News reported.
“They just need that reminder that it’s not all bad all the time,” Price added.
The schools superintendent declined to comment to WLBT.