The parents of several kindergarteners in Rocklin, California were recently angered to discover that their children had been discussing transgender issues at their school.
CBS Sacramento reports that earlier this week, parents at a board meeting for The Rocklin Academy raised concerns over not being notified about a teacher at the academy reading a children’s book about transgender identity to a group of students.
The book, entitled I Am Jazz, is a children’s book about the experiences of a transgender child and was read by the teacher to her kindergarten class, which then led to a class discussion of the book’s issues, near the end of the last school year.
A representative from the Sacramento-based “family values” organization Capitol Resource Institute said, “These parents feel betrayed by the school district that they were not notified.”
One parent also stated that her “daughter came home crying and shaking so afraid she could turn into a boy.”
Most parents, though, just feel that they should have been informed about the decision. One such parent, Chelsea McQuistan, said, “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.”
However, because the book was age-appropriate and did not discuss sexuality, just gender identity, the district does not require prior consent from the parents.
The teacher has said that “it was never my intent to harm any students but to help them through a difficult situation.” She addressed the issue and the backlash in a school board meeting with parents.
She also mentioned that she received the book directly from a transgender child and felt reading it to her students could help other transgender children.
Many other parents at the school were not alarmed to learn that their children had been read this book. One parent said, “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.”
In reaction to this, the school board has stated that they will discuss future classroom materials with parents.