Mom, long-time officer, decides against child reading school-assigned book about police brutality

Updated: Sep. 25, 2019 at 10:08 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Mandy Giannini, a 19-year law enforcement officer, talks to her eighth-grade daughter about her job.

“It doesn’t get easier, but it certainly gets harder,” Giannini says. “And books like this make it harder.”

The book is “All American Boys,” assigned to her daughter’s eighth-grade class. The subject is police brutality.

An online summary of the book tells of a “fist happy cop” that is “pounding” a teenager’s face into the concrete pavement. The book then follows what happens next from that perspective. Giannini feels the book is too one-sided.

Like the rest of the parents in the class, Giannini received a permission slip for her daughter to participate in the assignment.

“I bought the book, started to read it,” she says. “There’s F-bombs all in the first two chapters.”

That is why Bailey Middle School teachers say they will be summarizing those chapters, instead of assigning them as reading. It is not enough for Giannini.

“My question is, am I supposed to tear out the first two chapters, and allow CMS and give them the right and discretion to summarize those two chapters?” she asks.

School district leaders told a WBTV crew Tuesday, the decision behind this assignment was well thought out.

“Adolescents are aware of what’s happening around them in the world,” CMS District Four Board Member Carol Sawyer says.

They add that that it went through a review process.

“We found that the book was appropriate to use,” CMS Deputy Chief of Academics Matt Hayes says. “Any point in time that we use a text, a parent is allowed to opt out.”

Giannini will. She and another parent have written complaints.

Her daughter will be one of the students reading “To Kill a Mockingbird,” instead, but she says she is still concerned over what her daughter’s friends are reading about her job.

“It is a dangerous profession, and no call is routine,” she says. “And so my children have to worry about that, and they also have to worry about now, their friends may be thinking of me differently because of this book.”

Giannini says she was told after her complaint, that the school will be bringing police officers into the classroom to have an open discussion about the reading. She adds that she supports that decision, but her daughter will not be a part of it.

Copyright 2019 WBTV. All rights reserved.