Transgender kindergarten lesson gets mixed reaction

Posted at 8:59 AM, Sep 19, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-19 08:59:23-04

ROCKLIN, CA (KTXL/CNN) - Parents and school board members listened on Monday to hours of passionate testimony, all focused on one key question: What is and isn't an appropriate lesson in a kindergarten classroom? 

The lesson on what it means to be transgender happened after a kindergarten student, born a boy, was reintroduced to her class as transgender girl in June. 

Her teacher read the class two books about being transgender without parents or administrators being notified.

"The school spent a lot of time since these concerns were raised meeting with parents," said Elizabeth Ashford, Rocklin Academy Gateway spokesperson.

"They didn't understand why parents weren't notified beforehand," Chelsea McQuistan said.

"Parents should be notified when this controversial issues arise," one man said at the meeting.

"This teaching left many children confused, frightened and questioning their own gender," a woman said

Since then, there's been a wave of backlash against the school by some parents. 

However, some parents expressed support for the teacher's decision. 

Ankur Dhawan's daughter was in the classroom for that lesson, and he is grateful to the teacher for teaching that lesson.

"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," Dhawan said.

The transgender community as a whole supported the teacher.

"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.

"I'm glad there are people coming out to support the school, the family, the child," said Pam Douglas, one of many who supported the transgender lesson. 

She said doing otherwise is simply intolerant.

""At the crux of it it's sad, it's bigotry. Plain and simple, it's bigotry," Douglas siad.

The school board is considering five recommendations, among them: making it mandatory to notify parents about "controversial" topics beforehand, continuing to allow teachers to introduce age-appropriate books outside the curriculum and not letting parents "opt their kids out" of lessons they find inappropriate. 

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