On Monday, La Comadre posted a piece about a controversy that was stirring in Northern California over a children’s book. Granted, not just any book, a biographical book authored by transgender teen, Jazz Jennings. There was an action taken by the Rocklin Charter Schools Board that we think is important and precedent setting. We hope other districts that face similar challenges will be brave and stand up to some of the ignorance we have seen around the issue of our transgender students and how to treat them with respect and dignity.
The book in question, I am Jazz, was taken to school by a seven-year old transgender student for sharing. The teacher read the book to the classroom. Once parents heard about this, the controversy began. And again, the teacher read a book. This was not part of the curriculum, and there wasn’t a lesson planned around it. It was a student’s book for sharing. The book was deemed by the classroom teacher to be age appropriate, and she read it to the class. What an empowering moment it must have been for the student who brought it in. I cannot tell you enough how proud I am of that teacher! The same teacher, in support of the transgender student who brought the book to class, also read Red: A Crayon’s Story on the same day, a book about a crayon struggling with an identity crisis.
After the news of this incident went viral, as you can imagine, media and special interests got involved, and it all came to head two night ago at the Rocklin Charter Schools Board meeting. I am happy to say that the Rocklin school board voted unanimously on Monday to retain the policies that allowed a book about a transgender child to be read in the kindergarten class. However, they did include the following caveat: The schools will require teachers to inform parents if a controversial topic will be discussed in class.
Over 500 people packed the house to show either support or opposition, including conservative groups such as the California Family Council, the Capitol Resource Institute and the Pacific Justice Institute. Despite all of the opposition, the board held its ground and took the unanimous position that the book was allowed and will continue to be allowed.
After the vote, Board member Larry Steiner urged unity and acceptance and made this statement, “Please let this end tonight. We cannot forget Rocklin Academy is a school of choice. The hostility has to end. Let’s bring back our sense of community.”
We are all in this together with you. We want to be a resource for you and for all of the children you love. Whether you need some info or you have info to share, you know where to go…LA Comadre.
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