Uproar in Ohio over student writing prompts


642 things to write about may seem like a trivial title for a book. But Ohio parents say it contains bold and inappropriate suggestions their high school students shouldn’t have been exposed to – and now the city’s mayor is calling on the entire school board to step down because of the materials from class. Cleveland News 5 reports that the book had been part of the curriculum for the College Credit Plus upper writing class at Hudson High School for years. Of the included write prompts, for example Cleveland.com:

  • “Write a sex scene that you wouldn’t show your mom.”
  • Rewrite the sex scene from above into a scene you let your mom read. “
  • “Describe your favorite part of a man’s body using only verbs.”
  • “You are a serial killer. What TV shows are on your DVR list? Why ? “
  • Drink a beer. Write about the taste. “
  • “Write an X-rated Disney script.”

The Akron Beacon Journal quotes Superintendent Phil Herman as saying that after filing complaints it was “immediately” determined that the book was not suitable for students and the books were taken away from them. “It is important to note that at no time were these inappropriate writing prompts assigned as part of the course,” he added. But at the education board meeting on Monday, Mayor Craig Shubert wanted to see further action. “It has come to my attention that your educators are basically distributing what is child pornography in the classroom,” Shubert told the board.

He continued, “I spoke to a judge tonight. She’s already confirmed it. So I’m going to give you a simple choice: you choose to either resign from this school board or you will be charged.” Les Tag log reports that he made the statement to cheers, although it is not clear whether the board could actually be charged for the classroom material it approves, usually as a result of the screening of associated committees. An attorney for staff at the Ohio School Boards Association says he’s never heard of such a thing. So far, no member of the board has announced plans to quit. (Read more stories from Ohio.)

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