School responds to a parent's book complaint by reading it aloud to the entire student body

Schools often have to walk a fine line when it comes to parental complaints. Diverse backgrounds, beliefs, and preferences for what kids see and hear will always mean that schools can't please everyone all the time, so educators have to discern what's best for the whole, broad spectrum of kids in their care.

Sometimes, what's best is hard to discern. Sometimes it's absolutely not.

Such was the case this week when a parent at a St. Louis elementary school complained in a Facebook group about a book that was read to her 7-year-old. The parent wrote:

"Anyone else check out the read a loud book on Canvas for 2nd grade today? Ron's Big Mission was the book that was read out loud to my 7 year old. I caught this after she watched it bc I was working with my 3rd grader. I have called my daughters school. Parents, we have to preview what we are letting the kids see on there."


The book in question, "Ron's Big Mission," highlights a true story from the childhood of Challenger astronaut Ron McNair, who had experienced discrimination as a child in South Carolina because he was Black. In 1959, when he was nine years old, McNair wanted to check out books at the library, but the librarian told him the library didn't loan books to "coloreds." McNair refused to leave the library until he was allowed to check out books. Rather than give him a library card, the librarian called the police, who ultimately convinced her to just let him check out books.

Seriously, what issue could this parent possibly take with such an inspiring story of a kid standing up to injustice and fighting for the right to educate himself? This was a child who single-handedly changed a library's racial segregation policy and grew up to be an astronaut—a genuine, real-life hero. What is there to take issue with? The parent didn't specify, so we're left to conjecture, but if there's any other possible reason than racism, I can't think of one.

Rockwood Education Equity and Diversity Director Brittany Hogan told KMOX News Radio that after hearing of the complaint, other parents responded immediately in the book's defense.

"They were saying this is amazing that they were buying copies of the book," Hogan said. "One of our parents came out and said she was going to purchase a copy for every second-grader at the elementary school that her children attends."

Hogan called McNair a hero and said, "He deserves to be celebrated. His story deserves to be told to our children. It's important that we continue to move in a space that embeds diverse curriculum."

And the school responded in the best possible way—by announcing the book was going to be read aloud to the whole student body via Zoom. That's how you shut down a bigot. Boom.

Here's Pond Elementary Principal Carlos Diaz-Granados reading "Ron's Big Mission" to students via Zoom and sharing why he thinks it's an important book for kids:

Pond Elementary Principal Leads Schoolwide Read Aloud of "Ron's Big Mission" www.youtube.com


Photo by Louis Hansel on Unsplash
True

This story was originally shared on Capital One.

Inside the walls of her kitchen at her childhood home in Guatemala, Evelyn Klohr, the founder of a Washington, D.C.-area bakery called Kakeshionista, was taught a lesson that remains central to her business operations today.

"Baking cakes gave me the confidence to believe in my own brand and now I put my heart into giving my customers something they'll enjoy eating," Klohr said.

While driven to launch her own baking business, pursuing a dream in the culinary arts was economically challenging for Klohr. In the United States, culinary schools can open doors to future careers, but the cost of entry can be upwards of $36,000 a year.

Through a friend, Klohr learned about La Cocina VA, a nonprofit dedicated to providing job training and entrepreneurship development services at a training facility in the Washington, D.C-area.

La Cocina VA's, which translates to "the kitchen" in Spanish, offers its Bilingual Culinary Training program to prepare low-and moderate-income individuals from diverse backgrounds to launch careers in the food industry.

That program gave Klohr the ability to fully immerse herself in the baking industry within a professional kitchen facility and receive training in an array of subjects including culinary skills, food safety, career development and English language classes.

Keep Reading Show less
via USO

Army Capt. Justin Meredith used the Bob Hope Legacy Reading Program to read to his son and family while deployed in the Middle East.

True

One of the biggest challenges deployed service members face is the feeling of being separated from their families, especially when they have children. It's also very stressful for children to be away from parents who are deployed for long periods of time.

For the past four years, the USO has brought deployed service members and their families closer through a wonderful program that allows them to read together. The Bob Hope Legacy Reading Program gives deployed service members the ability to choose a book, read it on camera, then send both the recording and book to their child.

Keep Reading Show less