Parents at a California charter school are refusing to be sidestepped after a kindergarten teacher guided her students through an in-class gender transition for another student late last school year without parental notification.
On Monday, concerned parents spoke out at the Rocklin Academy Gateway school board meeting.
“My daughter came home crying and shaking so afraid she could turn into a boy,” one parent told the board at the meeting, according to CBS 13 in Sacramento.
“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,” another parent said.
The incident happened in early June on the second-to-last day of the 2016-17 school year. A kindergarten teacher reportedly read aloud two picture books about transgenderism, one called I Am Jazz, about the real-life gender transition of TV personality and LGBT advocate Jazz Jennings, and the second called Red: A Crayon’s Story, about a blue crayon that was mislabeled with a red wrapper.
According to reports by the kindergarten students (the school refused to discuss the details of the event with parents), one of the boys in the class changed from wearing boy’s clothes to girl’s clothes. The class was told the student had a boy’s body but a girl’s brain, and from now on, they needed to call the student a new name and use only female pronouns.
In response to questions and complaints this summer, the school’s board of directors held a special meeting for parents July 31. At that meeting, an attorney hired by the school told parents that under state law, discussions about gender identity and sexual orientation, unlike sexual education that discusses reproductive organs and their functions, do not require prior parental notification on the part of the school. The attorney said parents were also not allowed to remove their children from classrooms for such discussions.
Some Rocklin Academy Gateway parents had no qualms with the incident. “It was so precious to see that he had absolutely no prejudice in his body,” one mother said Monday about her son’s reaction to the event. “My child just went in there and listened to the story and didn’t relate it to anything malicious or didn’t question his own body.”
But medical experts disagree.
“Teaching transgender ideology to children amounts to child abuse,” said Michelle Cretella, president of the American College of Pediatricians. She said reactions of fear and confusion among children exposed to “gender-bending story books and cross-dressing demonstrations” are predictable.
“When authority figures teach these youngsters the myth that a child can be trapped in the wrong body, they are potentially disrupting their normal cognitive development … [and] will potentially lead to the fear that they aren’t the sex their bodies clearly indicate they are,” she added.
After Monday’s meeting, the school board agreed to put the topic on its agenda for September.
In the meantime, the issue is not going away.
Earlier this week, a Rocklin first grader was called to the principal’s office for mistakenly referring to her former kindergarten classmate by a male name on the playground. The two students are in separate classes this year. Karen England, executive director of the Capitol Resource Institute, a pro-family organization, told The Washington Times the girl’s parents were outraged and met with school officials Wednesday.