Police group issues complaint about book read to students in south metro

The Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association wants the book removed.
Author:
Updated:
Original:

The Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association on Friday sent a complaint to Gov. Tim Walz about a book that was used for a 4th-grade assignment in the Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan school district.

The book, titled "Something Happened in Our Town: A Child’s Story About Racial Injustice," follows two families – one white, one black – as they discuss the police shooting of a Black man in their community.

According to its synopsis "aims to answer children's questions about such traumatic events, and to help children identify and counter racial injustice in their own lives."

But the MPPOA, which represents 10,500 police officers in Minnesota, argues that it contains language that "encourages children to fear police officers as unfair, violent, and racist," and called on the state to no longer recommend it for elementary school teaching.

"Language in this book leaves the impression unchecked that police officers routinely pull over, arrest, and kill black people without consequences," the letter from MPPOA executive director Brian Peters reads.

"It says cops are 'mean to black people,' or 'shot them because they are black,' or police officers 'stick up for each other' to help police officers get away with doing bad things," it continues.

The best-selling book is recommended for children aged 4-8, and has been praised for helping young children discuss racism.

Follow Bring Me The News on News Break

State says context of entire book important

In response to the complaint, the Minnesota Departments of Education and Health issued a joint statement saying: "The book in question won multiple awards and was authored by psychologists seeking to help children process a difficult set of issues.

"It presents several complete conversations, as voiced by different characters, that many kids have likely heard in different parts of their lives. Some people will find characters’ perspectives resonate with them, while others may find some of the perspectives challenging, especially when taken out of the complete context of the full conversations depicted.

“For example, in the same section of dialogue cited as a concern by MPPOA there is a statement that ‘there are many cops, black and white, who make good choices.’ We share that view, and recognize that most who work in law enforcement have good intentions and are working hard to serve their community.”

Peters did say in his letter that there are "worthy discussions" to be had in Minnesota surrounding race and equity and how children can be involved in that process, and added: "We absolutely support making stronger community connections and bring people together."

"But divisive language that leaves children with the false impression police officers are out to hurt people based on the color of their skin is defamatory, wrong, and harms genuine public safety efforts," he added.

Next Up

124906958_401361401236047_6293747214536025849_o

Pandemic pushes need for cybersecurity and I.T. professionals to forefront

University of Wisconsin-Superior is helping meet demand with online master’s programs

Screen Shot 2020-12-03 at 5.01.58 PM

Body found floating in Minnesota River in Shakopee

Efforts to identify the deceased are underway.

Hennepin County Government Center

Judge finds suspect guilty in 1991 murder of young Minneapolis woman

A 58-year-old man from South St. Paul, who was 29 at the time, has been found guilty of stabbing a 20-year-old woman

northfield community education center

Northfield school fires employee who allegedly gave melatonin to infant

It's against district policies to give a child anything without a parents' permission.

state hockey tournament, mshsl

MSHSL approves 3 calendars to start winter sports as soon as Dec. 21

The start date will depend on whether the state shutdown is lifted.

hydrocodon-DEA

Drug overdose deaths up 31% in the first half of 2020

Overdose deaths started to increase sharply in March, which coincides with the state-ordered lockdown for the COVID-19 pandemic.

los ocampos

Video: Vehicle crashes into St. Paul restaurant

The fire department is on scene addressing a gas leak.

covid-19, coronavirus

Latest county infection rates are sky-high throughout Minnesota

Kandiyohi County is one of the hardest hit counties in the state.

Jenna Fish

Family's warning after teen's tragic death from CO poisoning at Thanksgiving

A 17-year-old girl from Delano died after Thanksgiving due to carbon monoxide poisoning.

Plainview

More than $12K donated to MN gym owner who refused to close

The small business is located in town in Wabasha County.

radio station, microphone

MPR, The Current launch new weekly segment called 'The Warming House'

The program will feature feel-good entertainment amid the pandemic.

Related

15646290018_842ba86283_k

Complaint made over 'Aryan Cowboy' gang in Stillwater

Police are investigating a woman's complaint about the biker gang.

Kent Kruger

Authorities identify man shot dead by police in Lakeville

He was wanted for assault on a police officer.

Racist Christmas tree

Cop fired over offensive Xmas tree told arbitrator it was a 'joke' on colleague

The arbitrator found in favor of officer Mark Bohnsack, who is allowed to resume his job after a suspension.

hopkins high school

Hopkins to remove police from the high school after students call for change

The school board voted to not renew the contract with Minnetonka police at the end of the year.

Screen Shot 2019-05-14 at 11.40.34 AM

Photo of Minneapolis couple used in flyer warning of 'race-mixing'

The couple had their photos taken in Princeton, Minnesota.

Screen Shot 2019-09-30 at 7.27.43 AM

Student made possible threats to Hopkins High School

The school says police addressed the matter with the student.

St. Joseph police chief placed on administrative leave

He commands eight sworn police officers in the Minnesota city.

Screen Shot 2020-07-07 at 10.14.48 AM

Wyoming PD sparks reaction with 'defund the police' Twitter quip

The police department made the comment in a post about a missing dog.