(CNN)Police in South Carolina are protesting the inclusion of two novels on a school's summer reading list that describe police violence against unarmed black people, saying they could stoke anti-police sentiment.
Police are protesting two novels on a school's summer reading list that grapple with police brutality
Members of the Fraternal Order of Police Tri-County Lodge #3 have complained about the books, featured on the summer reading list for a freshman English class at Wando High School in Mount Pleasant, near Charleston.
"Everybody is trying to make the law enforcement out to be a bad guy," said John Blackmon, president of the local police union. "We're not the bad guys. We're trying to help."
Both books are about communities grappling with police brutality. "All American Boys," by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely, tells the story of a divided town's racial tensions as seen through the eyes of two teenage classmates -- one black, one white -- after the black teen is severely beaten by a white cop who mistakes him for a shoplifter.
And "The Hate U Give," by Angie Thomas, describes the aftermath of a fatal shooting of an unarmed black teen by a white police officer. The teen's friend, the sole witness to the shooting, faces mounting pressures from all sides as she's called to testify before a grand jury about the shooting.
Both books are in the young adult genre and on summer reading lists for several of the school's English classes. Students are asked to read one of the books on the list over the summer and be prepared to complete a writing assignment about it.
A statement to parents on the Wando High School website says, "Books for teens should also entertain, inform, and/or look at issues that teens deal with in their daily lives. Often, realistic fiction grapples with the tough and controversial problems that today's adolescents face."
A committee of Wando staff members creates the reading lists, said Andrew Pruitt, a spokesman for the Charleston County School District.
"As the summer reading lists are compiled, a committee at each high school considers nationally known book review sources and award-winning young adult literature titles which will be of high interest to the intended audience of students," Pruitt said in an email. "Multiple titles are included on the summer reading lists to facilitate student choice."
After the local police union complained to the school and filed a formal request, Wando High