NC Book Assignment On Black Panthers Draws Controversy

Imagine a 9 or 10 year-old grappling with a story about a mom who sends her kids to a Black Panthers camp where they learn about‘racist, white pigs’ instead of going to Disneyland. That is what happens in One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams Garcia.

One passage from One Crazy Summer reads:

​”he didn’t have a leather jacket, but he was one of them. On his black T-Shirt was a dead white pig with flies buzzing around it and the words OFF THE PIG in white letters.”​

Parents in one Wake county school were notified in an email newsletter that their 4th grade child would be participating in a ‘book club’, whereby teachers would be assigning books to the kids.

In addition to One Crazy Summer, another book deals with immigration, unions and ‘ethnic class’ struggles titled, Esperanza Rising.  

School officials made statements on the ‘book club’, claiming it was optional. However, the email newsletter sent to parents simply stated “your child will be participating…”. There was no ‘opt out’ option given.

The newsletter also did not include the list of the books. Parents had to contact the school to find out what books were being chosen.

Principal Gamble also made statements that it was a ‘handful of kids’. If you call the entire 4th grade a ‘handful’, I suppose that’s true.

The email stated this assignment would count as a “significant portion” of their reading grade.  Additionally, parents were required to sign a “Book Club Assessment” sheet which indicated all of the different Common Core elements their child would be graded on as part of book club.

Local media coverage attempted to turn the story political in some cases and in others,  failed to focus on the real question, ‘is this content appropriate for a 4th grader?’.  Given that the Library school journal places these books at 6-9 ranges, one might conclude it’s not.

Read a full recap of this ongoing story in North Carolina – FROM THE ORIGINAL SOURCE.

Check out my IJ review article on this story for the video from ABC 11.

I’m wondering if the parents are going to call out Principal Gamble for lying on the ABC 11 segment about this being an “optional assignment” and parents could “opt out”.

How does one opt out when they send an assessment page home for parents to sign and a letter telling them a “significant portion” of the child’s grade depends on it?

The originating article never said this was on the Common Core reading list, in fact, just the opposite. Perhaps he should look at the assessment page parents were required to sign off on linked the book to fulfilling Common Core standards.

I’ll be on the Pete Kaliner show tomorrow starting around 5:05 pm to talk about this. Tune in and listen!


About A.P. Dillon

A.P. Dillon is the former Co-Founder and Managing Editor at American Lens. She resides in the Triangle area of North Carolina and is the founder of Her past writing can also be found at IJ review, Breitbart, FOX news, Da Tech Guy Blog, Heartland Institute, Civitas Institute and Find her on Twitter: @APDillon_
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