School Ready to Call
Child Welfare on Author
by Taylor Nix
"Mom, my teacher had a copy of Ms. Julia's book, Strawberry Mansion. I told her you wrote a book and she wants to read it. Can I bring her a copy?" This was what, Junnita Jackson's 12 year-old son asked her after he saw one of his teachers with Julia Press-Simmon's book. The next day he returned with his mother's novel, If It Don't Hurt...It Ain't Love, and gave it to his teacher. Shortly after, Junnita received a call from her husband. She was told that her son had some material deemed inappropriate by the school. "For the life of me I couldn't figure out what it could be. He still turns his head from a flash of 'boobies' in a movie," says Junnita. As it turned out, the inappropriate material was the book she authored.
According to Junnita, the text of the novel had to be reviewed since the teacher had brought it to the attention of the school's principal. Upon opening the book the principal of the school was appalled and unable to read pass the first page and was so concerned by the material Junnita authored, and considered calling child welfare.
What was it inside of your book that you think might have caused the teacher and principal to react the way they did?
The first sentence of the first chapter is, "My fiancé’s face was buried deep between my legs." The rest of the chapter is pretty steamy. That was the reason they flipped out. All of the sudden, to hear them tell it, my child was living in an unfit home because his mother wasn’t just a reader but an author of this type of material. The sex scenes are pretty graphic and erotic and right up front and not hidden with the deeper chapters of the book. I guess she felt some kind of way about it.
What's your book about?
It’s basically about decisions and consequences within our relationships with ourselves, our friends and our lovers; with a few twist and unexpected turns.
Kat, Tamia, and Vatyra tear apart and mend the cracks of their tattered hearts. Kat is a sultry and steamy woman with the world at her finger tips and a mind-boggling sex addiction. Her motto is anytime, anywhere, and anybody. Nothing has ever come between Kat and a good time; but too much of a good time may cost Kat a trip down the aisle with Dante the love of her life. Meanwhile, as Tamia struggles on her own, to raise her 14-year-old son, Semaj, her sanity hangs on by a thread. Her recent brush with death may have just been the straw that broke the camel’s back. Coma stricken, her 6th sense has her seeing and feeling the presence of her deceased ex lover James. Will James let her stay with him or send her packing back to reality?
Vatyra lets her guard down enough to let Kevin back in her bed. Although her heart has been stomped into the ground and trampled more then once, she finds the strength to let him back in her heart. Just when she thinks life could be sweet, his ex-freak-of-the-week returns to destroy their chances at happiness.
So she had a copy of Strawberry Mansion by Julia Press Simmons?
According to my son it was the copy of Strawberry Mansion that prompted him to ask his teacher if he would like to read If It Don’t Hurt...It Ain’t Love.
Do you know if the teacher read the above mentioned book? Would say your book and Strawberry Mansion are similar in content? Could they be placed together in a bookstore or library?
She was reading the book when my son approached her. Both books are about lust and lies, repairing relationships in an urban community. I realize that statement covers a broad range of story lines, but the basis of what people deal with in their everyday relationships are similar. Yes, I believe they could be placed together.
What were you told when you contacted the school about this situation?
When I contacted the school I was put in touch with the principal, she had me on speaker phone (which she didn’t disclose until near the end of the conversation). She told me how she didn’t usually have any problems with my son but the material he bought in was inappropriate. She continued on how when boys his age usually bring in inappropriate material there is a warning issued for the first offense and then parents are called in for any future offenses; however since I was the creator of the offensive material maybe other action needed to be taken.
When I asked her what action she planned on taking because it wasn’t my son’s fault, the book was requested. She explained she hadn’t planned on disciplining my son, but contacting child welfare on me. I couldn’t help but to think ‘How, exactly, was that not punishing my son?’ She then disclosed the other individuals listening to our conversation in her office, another teacher and the school counselor; they had been discussing that action was appropriate. The principal repeatedly stated she was appalled by the inappropriate material. I told the principal I was on my way there to finish the conversation, she advised that wasn’t necessary and they decided to return the book and take no action. I made sure to let my son know he did nothing wrong and wasn’t in any trouble.
Visit Junnita Jackson's myspace page at: myspace.com/ifitdonthurt
Taylor Nix is a writer and photographer for the Urban Book Source. Questions, comments and concerns can be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org
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