A Philadelphia mother wants her son’s high school teacher fired after he bought the teen the novel Fifty Shades of Grey for in-class reading.
Maya Ladson says she was shocked to find a copy of the racy read in her 14-year-old’s book bag back on March 9. That shock turned to outrage when she found out how he got the book.
“The minute I found out about it, it raised concern,” the mother told NBC10.com Thursday. “This is not OK to me. This is major.”
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Ladson's son, who is a 9th grade student at Eastern University Academy Charter School in the East Falls section of Philadelphia, asked for and was given the book by his teacher and adviser Philip Aidoo.
According to the school, Aidoo asked students for a list of books they would like to read during an independent reading period. Ladson’s son’s requested Fifty Shades of Grey. Aidoo then went online and ordered the book.
Ladson acknowledges that her son asked for the book.
“It clearly states on the cover, that the book is for mature audiences and has high sexual content,” Ladson said. “This was a 100-percent act of negligence. There should never be pornographic material purchased and distributed to a student by a school teacher.”
Eastern University Academy Charter School Chief Operating Officer Yvonne Turner calls the teacher’s actions a mistake.
“Unfortunately, Mr. Aidoo did not have an awareness of this popular book and ordered it with his own money,” she said. Turner says Aidoo also ordered books for other students, all of which were G-rated.
“I find it highly unlikely that a teacher who teaches reading and has a classroom for sustained silent reading period is unaware of contents of material that he’s giving to the students, let alone the material being pornographic material,” Ladson told NBC10.com.
Once Aidoo’s purchase was brought to the school’s attention by Ladson, officials immediately launched an investigation, according to Turner.
Officials met with Ladson and Aidoo and made a recommendation of action against the teacher, which the school didn't disclose. Ladson said she was not satisfied with the recommendation and filed a grievance with the school’s board of trustees. They heard the case and decided Wednesday to suspend the teacher for one week without pay.
Ladson says a suspension is not enough and wants Aidoo removed from the school.
“We all agree that it was a very serious mistake, however, it does not warrant a termination,” Turner said.
After Ladson told officials about the Grey incident, the school held a meeting with the parents of all the teacher’s students to notify them about the situation, according to Turner. Aidoo has taught math and advised at the 7th-12th grade school for several years.
“We heard nothing but high praises and support for Mr. Aidoo,” Turner said. “We have to deal with these things in a fair and impartial way which the school has attempted to do.”
Ladson says her son’s education has been compromised. Turner says the school is putting together a plan to move the 14-year-old to another class for the next trimester. The school has also enacted a policy that officials must now approve any purchase intended for students, she says.
The school has been on break for the past month. Ladson says when classes resume on Monday, she plans to protest outside the school with other parents.