ROCKLIN, Calif. – Parents vented their frustrations to the Rocklin Academy school board Monday over an impromptu kindergarten lesson about transgenderism, which concluded with a student revealing a different gender.
“These parents feel betrayed by the school district that they were not notified,” Karen England, spokeswoman for the Capitol Resource Institute, told CBS Sacramento.
England said a Rocklin Academy kindergarten teacher read students two books about transgenderism earlier this summer, one of which was titled “I am Jazz,” about a child going through a gender transition. The special reading session also included a student who changed into different clothes to reveal their “true gender,” according to the news site.
Parents didn’t appreciate the intrusion.
“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,” an unidentified parent said at the standing-room-only meeting.
“My daughter came home shaking and so afraid she could turn into a boy,” another 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,” another mother told the school board.
“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, told CBS Sacramento outside of the meeting.
District officials said the books were age appropriate and complied with teaching guidelines, and the unidentified teacher who defended her decision to read the books, which she said were given to her by the student going through the gender transition.
“I’m so proud of my students,” the teacher said through tears, “it was never my intent to harm any students but to help them through a difficult situation.”
Fox 40 reports parents twice attempted to put the transgender kindergarten lesson on the school board’s agenda without success. They came out on Monday to force the issue.
Several parents contacted both the Pacific Justice Institute and the California Family Council for help.
District Superintendent Robin Stout told the news site the books are not considered sex education, so the school isn’t required to notify them about the lesson.
Parents were notified about the lesson, a week afterwards, in a letter that did not include any reference to transgenderism, but plenty about the district’s nondiscrimination policy and “ensuring a safe and nurturing learning environment for all students.”
Jo Michael, a transgender spokesperson for Equality California, argued that kindergarteners understand gender identity, and they should learn all about it at school.
“Most people have a sense of their gender identity at age 3 or 4,” Jo Michael told Fox 40. “It’s important to note that the other students really do need to have that opportunity to engage and hear from the transgender student.”
Michelle Cretella, an expert with the American College of Pediatricians, disagrees.
“Having an authority figure teach the myth that a child can be trapped in the wrong body will potentially lead to rear that they aren’t the sex their bodies clearly indicate,” she said.
The school board is now reportedly changing procedures for outside books that will require pre-approval from administrators before they’re used. The kindergarten teacher did not gain approval from her superiors before reading the transgender books to her students, according to media reports.