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'Essentially child pornography': Ohio mayor asks school board to resign over racy writing assignments

"I'm going to give you a simple choice: either choose to resign from this Board of Education or you will be charged," Hudson Mayor Craig Shubert said.
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The mayor of Hudson, Ohio, is calling for the resignation of the entire Board of Education after high school seniors were assigned a controversial book with writing assignments that asked them to describe sexual experiences, to pretend they were a serial killer and to describe the taste of beer.

"It has come to my attention that your educators are distributing what is essentially child pornography in the classroom," Mayor Craig Shubert said Monday at a board meeting.

Image: Mayor Craig Shubert
Mayor Craig Shubert.City of Hudson, Ohio

"I've spoken to a judge this evening, she's already confirmed that. I'm going to give you a simple choice: either choose to resign from this Board of Education or you will be charged," the mayor continued.

It's not clear what charges the board members could face. David Zuro, the board's president, said Wednesday that no member has indicated any intention to resign.

"While we respect the Mayor’s position within the City of Hudson, in accordance with the State laws of Ohio, the supervision of the public schools of this District is the responsibility of the Board of Education," Zuro said in a statement.

The assignment that sparked the mayor's strong reaction was a book titled "642 Things To Write About" that was given to seniors taking a college credit course at Hudson High School.

The book contains prompts such as, "write a sermon for a beloved preacher who has been caught in a sex scandal," "describe your favorite part of a man’s body using only verbs," "choose how you will die," and "write an X-rated Disney scenario," according to

Other prompts asked students to "write a sex scene you wouldn’t show your mom" and then "rewrite the sex scene from above into one that you’d let your mom read." It also asked students to drink a beer and "write about the taste" and to list what television shows would be on their DVR list if they were serial killers.

The book also contained less provocative prompts such as describing the worst Thanksgiving dish or writing about the perfect day as an astronaut.

The newspaper received some of the prompts from Monica Havens, a parent whose daughter received the book.

“I asked my daughter if she had been reading a book with inappropriate stuff in it and she said yes,” Havens said, telling the newspaper that some of the prompts are "horrific."

“I can’t even wrap my brain around a teacher, I don’t care if it’s for college credit, these are minors,” she said.

The school's principal, Brian Wilch, said at the board meeting that the school learned about the prompts last Friday.

"We did not exercise due diligence when we reviewed this resource and as a result, we overlooked several writing prompts among the 642 that are not appropriate for our high school audience," he said at the meeting.

"We feel terrible. At no time were any of these inappropriate prompts selected or discussed but still they were there and they were viewable and you can't unsee them. So for this oversight, we did issue an apology today to our students' parents."

The principal said the school is in the process of collecting the book from students.