HUDSON, Ohio (LifeSiteNews) — An Ohio mayor has advised an entire school board to quit or face criminal charges for distributing materials for high school students which a judge called “child pornography.”
The controversy stemmed from a book of writing prompts entitled “642 Things to Write About,” which was distributed to high school seniors at Hudson High School in northeast Ohio.
As reported by The Daily Wire, writing prompts from the book included “sexual content like, ‘write a sex scene you wouldn’t show your mom,’ and ‘rewrite the sex scene from above into one that you’d let your mom read.’”
Other disturbing prompts in the book, which was provided to students enrolled in a senior-level college credit course entitled “Writing in the Liberal Arts II”, offered in conjunction with Hiram College, included “You have a dream that you’ve murdered someone. Who is it, how and why did the murder happen, and what happens afterward?”
Another prompt asked writers to “Choose how you will die.”
In a school board meeting Monday, Mayor Craig Shubert, a Catholic who attends St. Mary Catholic Church in Hudson, told board members, “I’m going to give you a simple choice: either choose to resign from this board of education or you will be charged.”
BREAKING: Hudson mayor demands all school board members resign or face possible criminal charges over high school course material that he said a judge called “child pornography.”
“I’m going to give you a simple choice: You either choose to resign or you will be charged.” pic.twitter.com/guhp0zc0ns
— Jenny Beth Martin (@jennybethm) September 14, 2021
Schubert, who kicked off his mayoral campaign in 2019 with an appeal to “common sense governance,” said at the board meeting that it had come to his attention “that your educators are distributing essentially what is child pornography in the classroom.”
The mayor added that he spoke with a judge that evening who “already confirmed” the characterization of the material as “pornography.”
Shubert’s ultimatum to the five members of the school board was met with enthusiastic applause from parents and others in attendance.
Although many of the “642” prompts appear to be innocuous, some are blatantly sexual or otherwise inappropriate.
Former teacher of 11 years Monica Havens, the mother of a high school senior who was provided with the material, listed off some of the objectionable prompts.
The book suggests writers choose to “write a letter from the point of view of a drug addict,” “write an X-rated Disney scenario,” describe “the first time you had sex,” or come up with “ten euphemisms for sex,” among other prompts which Havens suggested were inappropriate for high school age children.
“I can’t even wrap my brain around a teacher … I don’t care if it’s for college credit; these are minors,” Havens said.
Hudson High School Principal Brian Wilch admitted that the school made a mistake by distributing the material, saying that authorities within the school failed to “exercise our due diligence,” Cleveland.com reported.
“There are times we need to take a step back, reflect and get better,” Wilch said in the meeting, telling parents and other attendees that the school will do better moving forward to appropriately vet curriculum provided to high school students.
“We did not exercise our due diligence when we reviewed this resource and we overlooked several prompts that were not appropriate,” he said.
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As reported by Cleveland.com, Hudson High School officially apologized to parents for the offensive material and said it is “working to collect the prompt books.”
Wilch said the school “felt terrible” about the incident, remarking that “you can’t unsee” the inappropriate prompts.
As reported by USA Today, Hudson High School Superintendent Phil Herman described the book as a “supplemental resource” and said it was quickly pulled after the district became aware of its racier content.
In a prepared statement, Herman said “[t]he district immediately determined this writing resource should not be in the hands of our students, and on Monday collected the books from the students enrolled in the course.”
Herman explained that the “inappropriate and offensive writing prompts” in the book were never selected to be “assigned as part of the class.”
With the offensive material now pulled from the classroom, the school board’s president of education David Zuro said in a statement that none of the school board members plan to resign following the mayor’s threat.
“While we respect the Mayor’s position within the City of Hudson, in accordance with the State laws of Ohio, the supervision of the public schools of this District is the responsibility of the Board of Education,” Zuro said in a statement obtained by ABC-5 Cleveland.
“At this time, no Board of Education member has indicated any intention to resign.”
It remains to be seen whether Mayor Shubert will follow through on his threat and ask for the school board members to be charged for distributing the offensive material.
Shubert made the comments to the school board just over a week after his wife of nearly 22 years tragically passed away at age 60 on September 3 after a 9-month battle with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
According to her obituary, Sherri and her husband were married at Saint Dominic Church in Shaker Heights, Ohio. The obituary states that Sherri followed “in the footsteps of Saint Dominic, and after five years of study became a fully-professed Third Order Dominican, taking the religious name, Sister Catherine of Sienna.”
School boards have frequently been the nexus of controversy this year as parents and board members have clashed over hot-button issues like critical race theory and mandatory masking.