By all accounts, Risha Mullins is a terrific high school English teacher. She has her students read the classics: The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer and Beowulf. She has received praise and awards for for launching the student “Moo Moo Book Club” at Montgomery County High School. She also has arranged for students to visit the Holocaust Museum in Washington, and to attend a workshop at Virginia Tech University with nationally known poet and educator Nikki Giovanni.
And Ms Mullins has her sudents read contemporary books from the American Library Association’s list of recommended literature for high school students: Twisted, by Laurie Halse Anderson; Deadline, by Chris Crutcher; Lessons from a Dead Girl, by Jo Knowles; and Unwind, by Neal Shusterman.
Some find these books offensive. And Risha Mullins, a member of the Kentucky Education Association is non-tenured.
“She is untenured, so they could simply not renew her contract. That’s what can happen when a teacher becomes controversial. It’s a shame because she’s done so much to turn kids on to reading at a time when we’re practically begging children to put down their video games and read.”
Montgomery County School Superintendent Daniel Freeman has responded by withdrawing about half a dozen of the challenged titles from classroom use.