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Wando High School summer reading list causing controversy

MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCBD)- Two books causing controversy in Charleston County are All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely, and The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. They are on the summer reading list for Wando High School's English I class.

In The Hate U Give, the main character's best friend is unarmed, and shot and killed by police. In All American Boys, one of the main characters is brutalized by a police officer after a misunderstanding when the character is falsely accused of stealing. Both books address racism and police brutality which is making some local law enforcement officers upset.

President of the Fraternal Order of Police Tri-County Lodge #3, John Blackmon, says, "Whether it be through social media, whether it be through text message, whether it be phone calls, we've received an influx of tremendous outrage at the selections by this reading list."

He says in just the past two days, he has received hundreds of messages from police and community members.

Blackmon says, "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. This is putting in their minds, it's almost an indoctrination of distrust of police and we've got to put a stop to that."

The students have other options. From the list of four books, they only have to read one over summer break.

The Fraternal Order of Police wants All American Boys and The Hate U Give removed from the list.

Blackmon says, "There are other socio-economic topics that are available and they want to focus half of their effort on negativity towards the police? That seems odd to me."

News 2 reached out to the Charleston County School District for comment. A statement from Wando Principal Dr. Sherry Eppelsheimer says,

"I understand two of the selections/choices for this summer’s reading list for English 1 College Prep classes are considered controversial by some members of our community. I appreciate their concern and input regarding this matter.
 
A “Request for Reconsideration of Instructional Materials” form has been submitted and the school and District will follow the procedures outlined in Policy IJKAA-R in connection with the reconsideration request."
According to Policy IJKAA-R, once CCSD's Chief Academic Officer receives the complaint, a committee will be formed to review the material. The committee will hear from the parent who filed the complaint, the teacher who assigned the material, and any other experts on the subject. Within 30 days, they must give a recommendation to the Superintendent. The Superintendent will accept or reject the committee's recommendation. The decision can then be appealed to the Board of Trustees and their decision is final. You can find the complete policy, here.

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