MONETT — Teachers in a southwest Missouri district won't be able to use a book that tackles contemporary American race relations in their lesson plans.

KYTV reports that Monett superintendent Mark Drake says the book "Dear Martin" wasn’t pulled from the curriculum because of the topic but because teachers didn’t go through the proper protocol to get it approved.

"None of those lessons or activities that were planned for that book had been looked at by anybody else. So we just wanted to make sure that they meet the standards that we're supposed to be teaching in English language arts," Drake said.

But Suzy Gonzalez said her son felt a personal connection to the book, written by Nic Stone and published in 2017, and was upset by the district's decision.

"His peers in his class started telling him that racism didn’t exist," Gonzalez says, adding that her son had to excuse himself from the class. She added: "To me, it is important for the community to know that this is a problem in their own backyard."

Drake said the district is now putting together a book review committee. The committee will have teachers, administrators and even some parents to give community feedback.

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