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NY Teacher in Book Flap Can Return

November 26, 1998

NEW YORK (AP) _ A white teacher accused of racial insensitivity for using the children’s book ``Nappy Hair″ with her mostly black and Hispanic third-graders is spending the holiday weekend deciding whether to return to the classroom.

Ruth Sherman, 27, was temporarily transferred out of Public School 75 in Bushwick, N.Y., after being confronted by parents and other residents at a meeting Monday.

Board of Education spokesman J.D. LaRock said Wednesday that school officials believe Miss Sherman ``may have used poor judgment″ in choosing a book whose title may offend some people.

But he said there would be no disciplinary action and that she can return.

Miss Sherman said she was disturbed by racial epithets yelled at her during Monday’s meeting, and that she might not come back.

``I don’t want to teach in an area where people in the community think they can come out and threaten a teacher,″ she said.

She said she will make her decision on whether to return prior to a Monday meeting. Under union rules, teachers can request a transfer if they have been threatened.

``Nappy Hair,″ which has received rave reviews, is about a little girl with the ``nappiest, fuzziest, the most screwed up, squeezed up, knotted up″ hair.

Its author, Carolivia Herron, who is a black, said the book is based on a story her elderly uncle tells about her at family gatherings.

``The idea that it is a racist book is ridiculous,″ said Ms. Herron, an assistant professor at California State University at Chico.

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