By Aaron Miller-
A Mississippi assistant principal who was fired for reading pupils a humorous children’s book, I Need A New Butt!, has been upheld by his school district.]The assistant principal launched an appeal following her sacking, in which she argued that her dismissal was unfair.
The book describes a boy who tries to find a new bottom after he sees a “crack” in his current bottom which makes him afraid it is broken.
In March, Toby Price, an assistant principal at Gary Road elementary school in Hinds county, Mississippi, was fired after reading the book to 240 children in a Zoom session.
Price was called to the district superintendent’s office and told that he was being placed on leave.
The superintendent described the book as “inappropriate”, as it “described butts in various colors, shapes and sizes (example: fireproof, bullet proof, bomb proof)”.
“The book contains statements and cartoon pictures regarding bodily anatomy, bodily functions and removing clothing to expose private areas of the body in various positions,” the district said.
Price was fired two days later, after being accused of violating the Mississippi Educator Code of Ethics. He appealed. But on Monday his lawyers informed him the firing was upheld.
In a report reviewed by the Washington Post, the district said: “Mr Price’s contract should be terminated due to his incompetence, neglect of duty, and for good cause.”
According to the report, two board members voted yes, one voted no and two abstained.
Price plans to pursue an appeal with the chancery courts of Mississippi. If that does not work, he plans to take his case to the state supreme court.
“If that’s where it ends up, that’s where it ends up,” he told the Post.
“We expected this part to happen but at the same time it doesn’t make it any easier,” he said, adding: “It still stings.”
Go Fund Me Page
A GoFundMe campaign launched to support Price and his family has raised more than $125,000. Price said he had turned down out-of-state job offers.
Price’s new children’s book, “The Almost True Adventures of Tytus the Monkey,” was selling well in Canada. Then another message came through. It was his lawyer.
Price was working as a substitute at Kaleidoscope after being fired in early March from his previous job. He was about to find out whether his appeal to get back his job had been successful.
On March 1, he hosted a virtual reading for second-graders. When the event’s scheduled reader did not show, Price was asked to leap into the breach. He picked out a book from his shelf he thought was really funny. “I Need a New Butt!” by Dawn McMillan and illustrator Ross Kinnaird was a favorite he had read to students at a previous school.
Price thought his Zoom reading was a hit with the kids. Shortly after, though, the school principal questioned whether his book choice was appropriate. It contained cartoon butts and referred to flatulence. Two days later, the superintendent of the Hinds County School District, Delesicia Martin, dismissed him. Price appealed the termination at school board hearings.
A report from the Hinds County School District this week confirmed that his firing was upheld. The report, which Price shared with The Washington Post, read: “Mr. Price’s contract should be terminated due to his incompetence, neglect of duty, and for good cause.” Two board members had voted “yes”; one member had voted “nay”; and the two others had abstained.
“We expected this part to happen, but at the same time, it doesn’t make it any easier,” Price says. “It still stings.”
The next step is Mississippi’s Chancery Courts, and state Supreme Court could come later, Price says. “If that’s where it ends up, that’s where it ends up.”
The fight so far has already been trying on Price and his wife, Leah, who’s a secretary at Kaleidoscope Heights. They have three teenagers — Addison 19, and McKade, 18, who are autistic, and Marley Kate, who is bipolar.