An assistant principal who read a children’s book titled “I Need A New Butt” that contained inappropriate content to second graders was subsequently fired last week.

Toby Price, an assistant principal at Gary Road Elementary School in a suburb of Jackson, Mississippi, read the children’s book to the group of second graders. Second grade students are usually seven years old, potentially as young as six years old.

On March 2, Price, 46, was filling in for an administrator who had forgotten it was her turn to read to the group of about 240 second-graders over Zoom for Read Across America week. Price decided to fill in and grabbed “I Need a New Butt!” by Dawn McMillan.

“We have a lot of reluctant readers,” Price told The New York Times. “I am a firm believer that reluctant readers need the silly, funny books to hook them in.”

 Later the same day, Price was called up to the office of district superintendent, Delesicia Martin, and informed that he was on administrative leave. Two days later, he was fired and accused of violating the standards of conduct section of the Mississippi Educator Code of Ethics.

Price told NBC News that he had read the book at his previous school and didn’t think twice about reading to his young audience over Zoom.


“I didn’t think twice about reading it because I’ve never had an issue with it before. There are other books that have much more suggestive material that are much more widely accepted,” Price said.

However, because the book features words like “butt” and “fart,” as well as cartoon drawings of a child’s butt, the school found it problematic.

Price’s termination letter from the superintendent of the Hinds County School District states that he showed “a lack of professionalism and impaired judgment” in choosing the title, and that for those reasons his employment is terminated, according to Jackson’s NBC affiliate WLBT.

Price plans to appeal the decision.

“I just think that, you know, this was a pretty harsh reaction. I’ve been in education for 20 years. I’ve never had a disciplinary anything put in my file and I didn’t for being late. So I was blown away,” he added.

“I Need A New Butt,” originally published in 2012, is marketed as a children’s book. The same author has written other books along the same theme with similar illustrations, including “My Butt Is So Silly” and “My Butt Is So Noisy.”

“A young boy suddenly notices a big problem — his butt has a huge crack! So he sets off to find a new one. Will he choose an armor-plated butt? A rocket butt? A robot butt? Find out in this quirky tale of a tail, which features hilarious rhymes and delightful illustrations. Children and parents will love this book — no ifs, ands, or butts about it!” reads a description of the story.

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