A South Carolina police union wants Angie Thomas’s novel The Hate U Give removed from a high school’s curriculum, saying it is “almost an indoctrination of distrust of police,” according to The Guardian.
Wando High School added the novel, as well as Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely’s All American Boys, to a summer reading list for its ninth-grade class before the Fraternal Order of Police Tri-County Lodge #3 intervened saying that people were upset over the school’s decision.
“[We] received an influx of tremendous outrage at the selections by this reading list”, president of the lodge John Blackmon told News2. He said that Wando needs to “focus half of their effort on negativity towards the police” and “there are other socio-economic topics that are available”.
According to The Guardian:
The Hate U Give, which follows a teenage girl after she witnesses the shooting of her unarmed best friend by a police officer, and Reynolds and Kiely’s All American Boys, which sees a teenage boy trying to overcome his distrust of the police after he is wrongly suspected of shoplifting and then beaten by an officer.
“Freshmen, they’re at the age where their interactions with law enforcement have been very minimal. They’re not driving yet, they haven’t been stopped for speeding, they don’t have these type of interactions,” said Blackmon. “This is … almost an indoctrination of distrust of police and we’ve got to put a stop to that.”
Dr. Sherry Eppelsheimer, Wando High School’s headmaster, told The Guardian in a statement that the school received a complaint and it will follow policies already in place, which means that a committee will review the books and hear from the teacher who created the reading list and the police union.
The school’s superintendent will make a final decision based on the committee’s report, per The Guardian.
“Removing books that have been selected for their educational value solely because the ideas expressed in them conflict with some parents’ political or moral beliefs would improperly allow parents to dominate the public education process with their opinions,” The National Coalition Against Censorship wrote to the school. “For young readers in Charleston, The Hate U Give and All American Boys offer insight into the racial injustices many people of color experience, and inspiration for young activists who desire change.”