Ohio high school seizes books, police investigate college course writing prompts

Adam Steinbaugh
Foundation for Individual Rights in Education

Excerpt: A public high school in Hudson, Ohio, has managed a remarkable feat: censoring a college course and — thanks to a mayor’s grandstanding and false claims that a book of writing prompts is “child pornography” — leading police and prosecutors to investigate the class. Today, a coalition of civil liberties organizations led by FIRE is sending a letter to the high school and local law enforcement explaining that the high school’s administration is violating the First Amendment and state law.

High school seniors at one Cleveland-area school, Hudson High, can take an introductory college writing class offered by Hiram College, a local private college. The textbook for the course — “642 Things to Write About” — is a collection of hundreds of writing prompts. When a parent of a Hiram High senior flipped through the book, she was shocked to learn that some of the prompts involve risqué material — none of them, it turns out, were actually used in the class.