BALTIMORE (WJZ)– A reading assignment has been removed from a Baltimore City high school after major push back from parents. Many said the content and language of the book is just too graphic for teenagers.
The author and Morgan State professor M.K. Asante said he wrote the book years ago with the kids of Baltimore City in mind and it shouldn’t be judged by just a few pages.
The book “Buck” is a memoir about a teenager who transformed his life and transcended inner-city obstacles. But because of a racy chapter, the reading was recently stripped from the lesson plans at Digital Harbor High School.
“It’s not right for any child to be taught something like that in through a school,” one father said.
The few pages are riddled with profanity. They describe things in graphic detail, like women stripping, drinking, even participating in sex games for cash.
A parent posted excerpts on Facebook and hundreds responded, calling the content “extremely graphic,” “very disturbing,” one parent said “there is no reason any child should be reading stuff like that.”
“I think any backlash legitimately comes from people who haven’t read the book,” Asante said.
Asante said teachers across the city have been teaching with the text for years.
“I think in the context of a classroom, with these brilliant educators we have in Baltimore City who are using this material as springboards to talk about misogyny, objectification, violence in our communities,” he said. “Let’s use this as a spring board! That’s what literature does.”
Tuesday night, parents got a call that the book was being pulled from the classroom.
“The book called “buck” was basically going to be taken away from digital harbor due to inappropriate and vulgar language,” one mom said.
Baltimore City Schools released the following statement:
“Buck is not part of the approved curriculum, and it will be replaced with a different, approved text for subsequent lessons at Digital Harbor High School. Administrators at the school have met with the teaching staff to reinforce requirements around use of approved resources.”
Asante said he’s held at least 75 events where he talked about the book’s content with city students and he hopes parents concerned with the content will give it a read.
Baltimore City Schools said the district provides a list of approved books for teachers to implement into their English classes.