FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami/AP) – A Coral Springs elementary school has been told to halt using a fictional book about a Black boy who is killed by a white officer for a writing assignment.
The book, “Ghost Boys,” by Jewell Parker Rhodes was used in one fifth-grade class without going through the district’s vetting process, according to The Sun-Sentinel.READ MORE: ‘Treating Those Immigrants Like Dogs’: North Miami Mayor Sickened By Images Of Border Patrol Agents Using Whips To Corral Haitian Immigrants
A school board member said assignments related to the book were on hold.
“The timing of whether to implement this subject matter must include parents and ultimately be a decision by the parents of each student,” said school board member Lori Alhadeff. “I do not feel ‘Ghost Boys’ is appropriate for fifth graders.”
Common Sense Media, a nonprofit that rates TV shows, movies, books, and other content based on children’s development, says the book is appropriate for children who are 10 and older, the age of fifth graders.
The book was published in 2018, and it is told from the point of view of a 12-year-old bullied Black boy in Chicago who is shot dead by a white police officer while playing with a toy gun, recalling the 2014 killing of Tamir Rice, in Cleveland.
In the wake of the killing, the ghost boy narrates how his family and the community is impacted and befriends the daughter of the officer, who is the only living person who can see him, and Emmett Till, a 14-year-old boy from Chicago whose beating death in 1955 helped spur the civil rights movement.READ MORE: ‘Such A Demonic Spirit’: 70-Year-Old Man Stabbed In Random Attack At Miramar Plaza
The director of the local Fraternal Order of Police, Paul Kempinski, asked Broward County School Board members in a letter to stop using the book. He wrote he was upset by the friendship between the daughter and the boy saying he “ultimately convinces her that her father shot and killed him because her police officer father is a liar and a racist.”
“Our members feel that this book is propaganda that pushes an inaccurate and absurd stereotype of police officers in America,” he said in the statement.
The book was removed from a California school district late last year, according to the National Coalition Against Censorship.
Broward County Public Schools district told the newspaper the book was “supplemental” material and could be considered by teachers who want to delve into racial and criminal justice issues. But the district said the teachers who assigned the book did not follow protocol of informing parents to give them a chance for their children to opt out of the assignment.
It was previously used in the same school district at Pines Middle School, where a seventh grade book club spoke via Skype with the Black author.MORE NEWS: Florida Cabinet Approves 13-Mile Extension Of Dolphin Expressway
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