CORNELIUS, N.C. – An 8th grade reading assignment has some people concerned about what kind of image the book might be painting for kids about police officers.
WSOCTV News 9 reported that students at Bailey Middle School in Cornelius, North Carolina have been assigned to read the book, “All American Boys”, a novel about police brutality.
According to reports, the local police are outraged over the subject matter of the book. Now they’re trying to get the reading material banned throughout the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools district.
The story highlights a tale of an African American high school student who is mistaken for partaking in a criminal act inside a convenience store. Before he’s able to explain himself, the officer in the story slams the boy to the ground and begins to beat him. The story goes on with the police officer continuing to deliver blows to the boy, claiming he’s resisting.
Is this the picture of police we wanted painted in the minds of our 8th grade children? Is the divisiveness they see on social media and in the news not aggressive enough?
What’s better: teaching kids about how to act when they have an encounter with the police, or teaching them that police are scary racists who will beat you to a pulp for no reason?
Eighth graders at Bailey Middle School were supposed to read “All American Boys,” which is about police brutality. https://t.co/cM6dUNbzRE
— WSOCTV (@wsoctv) September 13, 2019
The police union in the North Carolina district issued a statement over their concern about the book and the themes it features.
“The last thing we want is kids to be viewing police officers as a social injustice that they can’t trust. We want them to be able to go towards these officers,” said Chris Kopp, with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Fraternal Order of Police.
He says the book’s subject matter goes against what local law enforcement has been trying to mend for years.
“All of the officers in the area have been working very hard, very diligently to try and rebuild that trust,” said Kopp.
The school issued a statement noting that they did not have any complaints from parents or the students themselves as of yet. They say they’re open to hearing the officers’ viewpoints.
“The school did not receive any concerns from eighth-grade parents who received communication about the assignment, nor is the book on any ban list. Bailey Middle has invited officers to be a part of the conversation and looks forward to shared dialogue.”
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A mother of one of the school’s students says that it’s a discussion that needs to be had.
“It’s definitely a major topic of discussion amongst everyone in America. Whether we talk about it at home with our kids at the table or whether they’re being spoken to about it at school, the discussion needs to occur,” said Tamia Julian.
Here’s a brief overview of the story from Super Summary.
“Rashad is picking out chips when he sets his duffel bag down to retrieve his cell phone. A female customer backs up and trips over Rashad, causing him to drop the chips. The store owner sees the open duffel and thinks Rashad is trying to steal the chips, while thepolice officer guarding the store thinks Rashad is attacking the woman. Without giving Rashad a chance to explain, the officer pulls him outside, slams him to the ground, and begins to beat him. Rashad instinctively moves to avoid the pain, but the officer says that he’s resisting and beats him harder. A crowd gathers as Rashad, thinking “please don’t kill me” (23), hears an ambulance arrive.”
Now, we’re not for the banning of books or for censorship in any degree. After all, we’re the victims of shadow banning and Internet censorship every single day, and well, it sucks.
But should this book be required reading material for middle schoolers?
Let us know your thoughts!
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