Teacher Challenged for Reading "King & King" Resigns

Omar Currie, a third-grade teacher in Efland, NC, who came under fire for reading the picture book "King & King"to his class in April, resigned from his position at Efland-Cheeks Elementary School last week.
Omar Currie.

Omar Currie.

Omar Currie, a third-grade teacher in Efland, NC, who came under fire for reading the picture book King & King (Tricycle Press, 2003) to his third grade class in April, resigned from his position at Efland-Cheeks (NC) Elementary School last week, as did Efland-Cheeks assistant principal, Meg Goodhand. King & King tells the story of two princes who fall in love and marry. Currie hand-delivered a letter to his principal, Kiley Brown, on Wednesday, thanking the district for “the opportunity to work in Orange County and the opportunity to grow,” he says. Friday was the last day of school, but Currie will continue working with some of his former students this summer as a tutor. He is meeting and interviewing with representatives from other districts and hopes to return to teaching in another elementary school this coming fall. Currie says that he decided to resign from Efland-Cheeks, where he has taught for two years, because as days progressed since he read the story aloud, the situation became untenable for him. Following a bullying incident involving one of his students, Currie decided to read the picture book to his class, which was studying fractured fairy tales—well-known tales in which the plot, characters, or other element is changed. That evening, Currie says, he received a call at home from Brown, who told that him a parent had called her and was upset about Currie reading the book. Brown directed the teacher to review the “Controversial Issues Policy" of Orange County Schools. In a subsequent meeting, Brown informed Currie that parents should have had the opportunity to opt out of having the book read to their children. After more parents objected to the book, the school’s Media Review Committee decided to keep the book in the school, but not make it available in the media center. Both decisions have since been appealed and are “now being addressed by the school system at the district level,” according to a release from Orange County Schools. A public meeting is set for June 18 by interim Superintendent Pam Jones to discuss the appeal. Currie sent a note to families with them his personal contact information and hopes that students and parents choose to stay in touch with him. “Friday was emotionally difficult,” he says. “I want to see my children grow up, and I want to share in their lives.”
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Betty

Beth, I think your suggestion of what is "classy" is a hoot. Are you suggesting that teachers send out a list of every theme that emerges in the books they read in class so parents can talk with their children beforehand? Wow - looks like that is what the school is doing for 2015-2016...a victory for parents who fear thought contagion.

Posted : Jun 24, 2015 12:22


Cynthia Ortiz

How sad for this school....But the next school that hires Mr. Currie will have gained a valuable colleague, a wonderful role model for students, and will set a good example for other schools/districts. Good luck to Mr. Currie!

Posted : Jun 18, 2015 09:26


Miranda Doyle

How sad that a story about two people falling in love and getting married is considered a "controversial issue". I thought we were beyond that now? I hope Mr. Currie finds a school that appreciates him.

Posted : Jun 18, 2015 03:19


Beth

It's an assumption to conclude that because a parent might object to this story being read to their child, they are also teaching their children that LGBT people don't exist. Parents often want a chance to discuss stories with their kids and forewarning parents would have been a classy thing to do. As with the previous story on this issue, I'm unclear about the connection between the bullying incident and why this book had to be read. If the student being bullied was being called a LGBT slur, then all the more reason to send out an email.

Posted : Jun 17, 2015 05:30


Meghan

How heartbreaking. I wish him all the best and know the next school to hire him will truly have found a gem.

Posted : Jun 17, 2015 04:34


Beverley Graham

This article and the original post don't mention why the initial parent was upset--was it just the subject matter, or did they think that it was age-appropriate? Either way, those 3rd grade children will grow up in a world where their co-workers and or their bosses are LGBTQ. As a parent you don't have to like gay marriage; but, it's not doing the children any good for parents to pretend that gay people don't exist and are marrying people of the same sex. It's also a shame that they're losing a good male role model at that age.

Posted : Jun 17, 2015 12:46


Amy Cheney

Come work for us!

Posted : Jun 17, 2015 12:30


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