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Public, parents speak out about book reading to Binghamton schools

(WBNG) -- During the annual Board of Education zoom meeting Monday, several members of the public and Binghamton parents shared their thoughts about an online book reading that was shown to Binghamton City School District students.

The school district addressed the reading after it was met with criticism from the public. The Binghamton Police Benevolent Association also issued a statement Monday morning regarding the book.

Before the public comment period, MacArthur Elementary Principal Lori Asquith issued a statement saying in part "My husband of 14 years is in law enforcement. Subsequently, I stand in a unique situation. I am able to see the complexity, the delicacy, and hurt from two perspectives...The reality is the conversations that we depicted in the children's book 'Something Happened In Our Town' are conversations that are happening in our community...Whether you find yourself agreeing or disagreeing with the conversations that are happening in that book, they are conversations that are happening in our communities and should not be ignored."

During the public comment period, several people shared their thoughts on the issue.

Michael from Binghamton said, "I was deeply troubled when I saw the video and heard of this book. There's something that's being said here over and over again, and I think it's very important to understand it. We're introducing politics to the very youngest and most vulnerable children in our community, and I think that's wrong."

Malika from Binghamton said, "I don't agree. People should communicate with their children about what is going on. If not now, then when do you begin to talk about the issues that are affecting the children within the society, with your child?"

Tina from Binghamton said, "I am utterly dismayed to see what's going down here. Why do we have a letter from the school district addressed to parents in which the school district issues an apology to the police for having chosen a book that honestly tackles the kind of issues that we face as a country today?"

Sean said, "I wish my son would've been able to hear this story when he was a student at MacArthur. I think it would've been extremely important and helpful."

Laura said, "When I heard about this book and I heard that it was heard to school children between the ages of 4 and 8, I was deeply disturbed and so saddened."

For more information and our coverage on this matter, click here.

Scott Sasina

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