Kindergarten Parents Freak Out After Teacher Reads Book About Transgender Child

 parents outraged over teacher reading transgender books

We live in a world that is changing rapidly. Boundless information is available at our literal fingertips, and it is only natural that as we learn more, we become more tolerant of things we may have been ignorant about before. But that wasn't necessarily the case when a group of parents became enraged after a kindergarten teacher read a book about a transgender child to their kids at school


I am Jazz, a book about a young transgender girl based on the life of reality star Jazz Jennings, was brought to class by a trans student at Rocklin Academy Gateway School in Rocklin, California, in hopes of sharing it with the class during story time. In a show of solidarity, later that day the kindergarten teacher also read Red: A Crayon's Story, a book made specifically for children in the 4-8 age group that deals with a crayon struggling with its identity. 

Soon after, many parents who were upset with the teacher's actions met with school officials to discuss the incident. In addition, they also staged a protest at the school's June board meeting.

More from CafeMom: The Kids Are Alright: 10 Facts About Kids Raised by LGBT Parents

In reaction to the heated discussion surrounding the events, many local news outlets and conservative websites picked up the story. A few of these outlets lambasted the school, speaking with parents who claimed that the academy had thrown an elaborate coming-out party for the transgender student that ended with the student changing clothes in the bathroom and coming out wearing "girls' clothes."

These accusations were denied by the school, but the backlash prompted officials to hire an outside public relations firm to take control of the situation. While officials do agree that the books were read to children without prior permission from higher-ups or parents, they also stress that, as the content of the books do not fall within the parameters of "sex education," no permission was required. 

In turn, many of the parents contacted Karen England -- a conservative advocate from Capitol Resource Institute -- for help. "The average parent doesn't want to have this conversation in kindergarten, and it was forced upon them," England told the Sacremento Bee.

Others parents, however, have expressed their support for both the school system and the teacher in question. "This is a topic that is very pertinent to our times," Ankur Dhawan, who has a 5-year-old in the kindergarten class, told the paper. "If I wanted to have this discussion with my child I don't know of a mechanism that would work out better than this. The timing isn't what I chose, but it is a decent way to bring it up.”

More from CafeMom: 12 Things Never to Say to LGBT Families (Seriously, Stop It...)

It should be noted that in the state of California, the law requires that the contributions of people of color, disabled people, LGBT people, and other minority groups be acknowledged in textbooks used in public schools as specified by the Fair Education Act of 2011

As of now, no definitive changes have been made despite pushback from upset parents. Discussion of the book and the aftermath will continue at the next board meeting in September.

Kate Hazarian, San Juan Unified's director of family engagement and partnership development, said of the situation in an interview with The Sacramento Bee, "It's usually parents who are most anxious about the topic of transgender children. My experience is that kids are a lot more tolerant than adults."

Read More >