Parents were left divided after a kindergarten in California gave a lesson about being transgender. A teacher at Rocklin Academy, just northeast of Sacramento, decided to give the lesson to pupils after one male student was reintroduced to the class as a girl.
The teacher chose to read books to the class about being transgender, but this was done without notifying parents or the school administrators. There was a backlash from some parents, though others were supportive. A large crowd attended the school's board meeting on Monday 18 September to voice their opinions on the matter.
Some parents said that the topic could create confusion in their children, including Chelsea McQuistan, who said: "To teach my kid that biologically this boy was born a boy and to teach him that now he's a girl is very confusing and I feel that it's a lie."
But others were supportive of the teacher, including one parent who admitted that the topic would have been difficult for him to explain at home. He said: "The honest answer is I would not have had the courage to have this conversation with my daughters had this not been brought up at school, so from that perspective, it's been an important lesson."
"It's not controversial amongst the LGBT community to be who you are. It is controversial, however, to deny another's human identity and their dignity," one man said.
Since the incident, the school has issued fresh guidelines over the teaching of controversial topics. They are:
- Affirm existing literature selection policy, allowing teachers to use books outside curriculum if it's age appropriate.
- Provide mandatory notice to parents before controversial or sensitive topics are introduced to kids.
- Affirm commitment that no students will be bullied.
- Adopt policy that would notify parents and students that any student may request a special accommodation if a student is uncomfortable using a particular bathroom.
- Decline to adopt an "Opt Out" policy. Parents wouldn't be allowed to opt their kids out of a lesson if they find subject controversial (outside of sex education).
These guidelines were passed after more than five hours of speeches and testimony. The rules were passed unanimously by the five members of the school's board.