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Hopewell, VA—After his son told him about a book his teacher was reading in class for Black History Month, a local father is outraged by what he says is inappropriate language in the literature. Now, he's demanding answers from Hopewell City Public Schools.
Francisco Johnson's say his son came home from school Monday, and told him about a new book from which his teacher has been reading aloud in his 6th grade class.
"The Well, A David's Story" was written by award-winning African-American author Mildred Taylor. It discusses racism in Mississippi during the early 1900s, and is being read in Johnson's son's class for Black History Month.
Johnson says that while the book may have good intentions, it's filled with bad words, including multiple uses of the "N" word.
"I don't allow it in my house, and for an adult to teach that to my child and that terminology, I was like, ‘You have got to be kidding me,'" said Francisco Johnson.
Johnson delved into the book himself, and read an excerpt online that he says contains "fighting words," that are not acceptable, even if they were used in the past.
"Hey man, what the heck," said a frustrated Mr. Johnson, "I mean, this is 2013, what are you doing here? We are supposed to be moving forward, trying to get past this, but this guy to me, he is like, ‘Hey man, I'm going to slap you in the face and let you know where you really come from, and this is where you belong.'"
Johnson filed a complaint with the NAACP, and has demanded answers from school board leaders. Hopewell City Schools have since pulled the book from the classroom, and are taking it under review.
"We needed to take a look at the book," relayed Hopewell City Public Schools representative Kim Evans, "and in order to do that it takes time to pull it, look at it, read it and to look at the context in which it was used."
It's the first complaint the school board has heard about the book, which Johnson's son's teacher has read to his students for the past seven years.
Johnson seems most offended by the teacher reading the book aloud—even the offensive "N" word.
"When I read what was in there, I couldn't believe that this teacher was doing this," said Johnson. "I went berserk because it's a very offensive word, I don't care who does it, who says it."
Johnson says he wants the teacher to face punishment for reading the book in a class. School leaders would not comment to 8News about personnel issues.