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Teen Vogue Summit 2018: #TurnUp - Day 2

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A South Carolina police union is demanding Angie Thomas’ The Hate U Give be removed from a school’s summer reading list, calling the bestseller “almost an indoctrination of distrust of police.”

John Blackmon, president of the Fraternal Order of Police Tri-County Lodge #3, told a local news site that his union “received an influx of tremendous outrage at the selections by this reading list,” and were questioned why the school was focusing “half of their effort on negativity towards the police” when “there are other socio-economic topics that are available.”

“Freshmen, they’re at the age where their interactions with law enforcement have been very minimal,” Blackmon continued. “They’re not driving yet, they haven’t been stopped for speeding, they don’t have these type of interactions. This is … almost an indoctrination of distrust of police and we’ve got to put a stop to that.”

The “intervention” came from the lodge after Wando High School’s freshman class was asked to choose from one of eight suggested novels over summer break. Along with THUG, the union was upset by the inclusion of Brendan Kiely’s All American Boys, which tells the story of a teen boy attempting to overcome his distrust of the police after he is wrongly suspected of shoplifting and beaten by an officer, as noted by The Guardian.

This isn’t the first time authorities have attempted to censor Thomas’ acclaimed novel. In 2017, THUG was banned by a school district in Texas after a “very appalled” parent complained about the book’s explicit language and discussion of drug use. As complaints continued to roll in, Katy Independent School District superintendent Lance Hindt decided to pull the book from shelves across the district while a “review” took place. As we previously reported, the ban added to heightening concerns surrounding student access to literature, particularly titles that allow them to see themselves on book pages and validate their realities.

Meanwhile, a federal judge in Detroit has ruled that children have “no fundamental right” to literacy. The madness—the policing of children’s education—has got to stop.