Parent questions 7th grade reading assignment; School feels targeted

Nashville Prep, City of Thieves
Photo: WKRN

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Mother Kelly Sparkman has a problem with a book her son is reading at school.

She told News 2 the content in the book “City of Thieves” has no place in the class room.

Nashville Prep, City of Thieves
Kelly Sparkman (Photo: WKRN)

“About sex scenes, things of that sort of nature. The children had to read them aloud. The teacher did inform them they should skip over those explicit, vulgar, obscene words but they were still in the dialogue,” said Sparkman.

She told News 2 she called the school and said she didn’t want her son to read the book.

She said the school told her that her son would receive a zero grade if he didn’t participate.

“So what I did is I took his original out of his binder, I made copies of the original and I took a black marker and ink and I marked out everything that was inappropriate, initialed it and dated it,” said Sparkman.

Nashville Prep, City of Thieves
Photo: WKRN

School board member Amy Frogge has also been very vocal about her concerns regarding the book.

She sent News 2 a statement that read, in part, “This latest complaint is just one of many that have been lodged by current and former Nashville Prep parents and faculty. Nashville Prep gave a twelve-year-old student the choice to get a zero or to be subjected to a developmentally inappropriate book with foul language and sexual content.”

Fogge told News 2 she is asking for an investigation of the school.

News 2 reached out to Nashville Prep for comment. The school’s co-founder and CEO Ravi Gupta sent a statement that said:

This isn’t about the book. We may never teach this book again. The real story here is that there’s a school board member who wants to shut down one of the highest performing public schools in the city because of a disagreement over literature.

This seems like a wild overreaction and is revealing of nothing more than a politician’s belief that public charter schools, which represent 9 of the top 10 public schools in this city, should not exist.

Metro school board member Mary Pierce also spoke out on behalf of Nashville Prep. Pierce told News 2 she visited the school Wednesday.

“I hadn’t been in a while and I wanted to see has anything changed? Kids were smiling, teachers were working hard,” said Pierce.

Other parents told News 2 they feel the school is being targeted.

The seventh grade students are reading an edited version of the book that the school deemed age-appropriate. Sparkman feels the book wasn’t edited enough.

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