‘It’s hilarious’: Asst. principal stunned after he’s booted for reading ‘I Need a New Butt’ to second-graders

Mississippi elementary school assistant principal Toby Price was shown the door last week after, in what the superintendent called “a lack of professionalism,” he read a second-grade class a book called “I Need a New Butt.”

The book, written by Dawn McMillan, is a “silly” story about a young boy’s quest to find a new butt because his “has a huge crack.”

“Will he choose an armor-plated butt?” the Amazon description asks. “A rocket butt? Find out in this quirky tale of a tail, which features hilarious rhymes and delightful illustrations.”

In his termination letter, the superintendent accused Price of showing “impaired judgement” when he chose the “inappropriate” book, citing its use of words such as “butt” and “fart” and a cartoon illustration of a kid’s backside, according to NBC affiliate WLBT of Jackson.

Price only read to the students because he was told to after the principal failed to show up to a Zoom class.

“I text my boss,” Price told NBC. “She said, ‘Well go ahead and read.’ I wasn’t planning on reading, but I went ahead and grabbed one of my books that I had nearby. One of my favorites. I read it: ‘I Need a New Butt!'”

“It’s hilarious,” Price added.

Price, who served for three years as assistant principal at Gary Road Elementary School in Byram, MS, said he’s read the book to students at other schools without incident.

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


But this time, the silly story swiftly earned him a trip to the principal’s office, where Price was told parents might complain over its content. He was put on administrative leave, directed to report to the district office that day, and unceremoniously sent home.

Price called the school’s move “harsh.”

“I just think that, you know, this was a pretty harsh reaction,” Price stated. “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.”

On social media, support for the fired teacher has swelled, with many calling the termination wrongful.

“Now we’re firing people for reading a NON BANNED children’s book… to children,” tweeted one user. “Get me out of this dystopian nightmare.”

“This excerpt from the termination letter of Toby Price in Mississippi outlines all the ‘butt’ and ‘fart’ references in the book he read to justify his swift firing,” wrote PEN America’s Director of Free Expression and Education Jonathan Friedman. “This is not a joke.”

Friedman urges followers to sign a PEN America open letter to Hinds County School District calling on the officials to “reverse the termination immediately.”

The letter aims to remind the school district that “reading and sharing literature, even on silly topics, should be celebrated in public education, not become a cause for punishment.”

Friedman quoted Price, who has special needs children of his own.

“I love being an educator,” Price said. “It’s not just what I do, It’s who I am.”

Price has set up a GoFundMe account to cover his bills and attorney fees as he prepares to fight back.

As of this writing, he has raised $15,498 — more than double his $7,500 foal.



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