Parents of students in a kindergarten class at Rocklin Academy in Rocklin California turned out for a school board meeting earlier this week to express their outrage over a transgender “reveal” ceremony that took place in a class late last year and left many children confused and frightened.
According to The Stream, late last year, a charter school kindergarten teacher held a “transition ceremony” for a 5-year-old boy in her class who expressed his desire to be a girl. Without the parents’ knowledge or consent, she introduced the boy to the class as a boy, then had him change into girls’ clothing and re-introduced him as a “girl.” His fellow students were then instructed to refer to him by his new girls’ name.
This travesty was followed by the reading of two books on transgenderism – I am Jazz about a boy who wants to be a girl and The Red Crayon which is a story about a red crayon that self-identifies as blue.
During the August 21 school board meeting, the teacher of the class addressed a packed house.
“I’m so proud of my students, it was never my intent to harm any students but to help them through a difficult situation,” the teacher said, according to CBS13.
She explained that she read the books to the children after they were given to her by a transgender child who was going through a transition.
Parents responded by reporting how confused and frightened their children were by the incident.
“These parents feel betrayed by the school district that they were not notified,” said Karen England with the Capitol Resource Institute. “The kindergartners came home very confused, about whether or not you can pick your gender, whether or not they really were a boy or a girl.”
“My daughter came home crying and shaking so afraid she could turn into a boy,” another parent said.
“I want her to hear from me as a parent what her gender identity means to her and our family, not from a book that may be controversial,” said another upset parent.
“It’s really about the parents being informed and involved and giving us the choice and rights of what’s being introduced to our kids, and at what age,” said parent Chelsea McQuistan.
Unfortunately, the school told no one about the incident and parents only learned what had taken place that day when their children came home and told them about the upsetting incident.
It wasn’t until a week after the event that the school sent a letter to parents that addressed only the issue of the books read in school, not the transition ceremony that was so disturbing to some of the children.
Principal Jillayne Antoon wrote in the letter that the books were “age appropriate” and explained that the school’s nondiscrimination clause protects students “including on the basis of gender, gender identity and gender expression.”
According to The Stream, District Superintendent Robin Stout said that parents weren’t told because children can’t opt out of gender identity and expression lessons. California law only allows kids to opt out of sex education classes and lessons on transgenderism fall under “diversity and tolerance” curricula.
California law allows students, even those as young as kindergarten, to “self-identify” and choose their preferred pronoun to be used in class. Schools that don’t comply could be subject to lawsuits.
As a result of the incident, some parents have removed their children from the school while others are circulating a petition to change the school’s policies.
According to the California Family Council (CFC), a Focus on the Family organization that is advising parents involved in this incident, parents want the school to adopt a parental notification policy, with an opt-out option, that requires teachers to notify parents before controversial material like this is presented to students. They also want all anti-bullying materials and other books used in the classroom to be approved by the Rocklin Academy School Board with parental input and oversight. The the petition for these changes has already gathered signatures from 150 parents
The CFC’s Jonathan Keller said they are looking into what more can be done to protect parental rights going forward.
“It’s such an egregious case, we’re trying to figure out what can be done, from the legal perspective, the legislative perspective, or at the very least at the local level.”
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