School board member suggests Playboy as reading material

Published: Apr. 25, 2012 at 1:51 AM CDT|Updated: Mar. 9, 2017 at 12:08 AM CST
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During a Vicksburg Warren School Board meeting last year, one board member suggested that a pornographic magazine be used as resource materials to encouraging reading.

While some looked on the comment as a joke, one parental organization said it's no laughing matter.

"I asked her to tell principals to tell employees if they wanted to read Playboy they had to remove the pictures," said former Vicksburg Warren School Board President Zelmarine Murphy in September 2011.

Some attending the school board meeting saw it as humor and laughed at her recommendation to principals.

"It does have good articles in it sometimes," added Murphy.

Others are criticizing her comments.

Parents for Vicksburg Warren Schools posted the comments on their Facebook page.

"It sets a bad example of what we want our children reading," said Shelley Tingle, a mother of three children in the district.

"We have plenty of wonderful literature that we can read our children aside from Playboy and even though she says the articles are good, I would have to beg to differ that it's just a total misrepresentation of women and it's pornography," said Tingle.

We were unable to reach Murphy for comment.

Her statement was made in reference to the new Drop Everything and Read program which encourages everyone in the school system to read for the first 60 minutes of each day.

Vicksburg Warren school officials said she is a retired teacher who has served on the board for more than 20 years. Murphy represents District Two.

"In a subsequent meeting in closed session with the board and I, she tried to explain the meaning of her comment. She was speaking about reading materials, not necessarily the use of magazines in the classroom. Nonetheless, we are moving forward with the business of the district which does not include Playboy magazine," said Vicksburg Warren School District Superintendent Dr. Elizabeth Swinford.

Murphy is no longer school board president.

Bryan Pratt was elected in March.

Copyright 2012 WLBT. All rights reserved.