Ohio Mayor Wants School Board to Resign Over Racy Writing Assignments for High School Kids

Photo: (Photo : FREDERICK FLORIN/AFP via Getty Images)

The Ohio mayor has called for the mass resignation of the Board of Education for giving senior high school students a racy writing assignment based on the book "642 Things To Write About."

During the board meeting, Mayor Craig Shubert said the assignment for the senior Liberal Arts class at Hudson High School was "essentially child pornography" since it required students to write suggestive scenes. Scenes such as an explicit scenario they won't likely show to their parents or a sexy Disney scenario. The writing assignment also prodded the minors to drink beer, describe its taste and effects, or pretend that they are serial killers and detail their murderous plans in writing.

Some parents complained about the assignment, and the students were surprised about the topics suggested in the book. The mayor addressed the school board and said that he would file charges if they won't resign after speaking to a judge. Those are the only options he gave to the school officials.

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No Intentions of Leaving

The mayor also said that he expects the boards' resignation by the end of September. However, David Zuro, the school board president, told NBC News no one among the officials expressed their intention to vacate their posts. 

"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.

The mayor has not clarified what charges will be filed against the school board as there has never been a precedent for this scenario, per Ralph Lusher, the Ohio School Boards Association lawyer. Lusher said that the school board conducts a process of reviewing the school curriculum and has likely not anticipated that this particular assignment would trigger a "moral turpitude" that would end in a criminal lawsuit

Superintendent Phil Herman said that there would be an independent investigation into how these materials were approved. The book was part of the College Credit Plus classes under the collaborative plan of the Ohio Departments of Education and Higher Education.

Books Pulled Out

Hudson High School principal Brian Wilch said they found out about the writing prompts around the same time as the students. The principal acknowledged they did not exercise due diligence in reviewing the material before its distribution.

Wilch said that they felt terrible about the oversight and issued an apology to the parents. The school has also asked the students to return the controversial book.

"642 Things To Write About" was released in 2012 by the San Francisco Writers' Grotto as a "fun and playful journal" for writing exercises that will "get the creative juices flowing." Reviews about the book cited that the material is not meant for kids but it would be perfect for mature writers. According to the authors' group, which has been around for more than two decades and has over 100 members, they developed the writing prompt for aspiring writers in the ages of 18 years old and above but some stores market the book as a crafts and hobbies tool for children.

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