September 22, 2017

School board votes to allow your kindergartner to read books about transgender people


Today in uplifting news that suggests the world may be getting better after all: the Sacramento Bee’s Diana Lambert reports that, following a heated debate, the school board at Rocklin Academy Gateway School outside Sacramento has unanymously voted to continue allowing books about transgender children to be read in kindergarten classrooms. In a compromise made to placate certain parents, the school “adopted a provision to forewarn parents of potentially controversial subject matter,” Lamber writes.

A quick recap: after a transgender kindergarten student brought in a copy of the autobiographical I am Jazz by transgender teen Jazz Jennings, a fierce debate broke out between parents and the school board about what books should be considered “appropriate” to read in class.

As we wrote recently, of course your kid should read books about transgender people in school. It’s important for our children to see themselves represented in classroom literature, and also to hear the stories of folks outside their immediate circle. Why not do it though an age-appropriate medium such as a children’s book?

Unfortunately, there will always be the opposing side, full of fear and prejudice. But we fight it: the Rocklin school board “denied a ‘model parental rights’ proposal, put forward by a conservative policy group, that would have allowed parents to remove their children from sex- and family-education classes and to review related materials,” Lambert writes.

What started as an argument among parents at a small charter school in northern California has become part of a larger national discussion about transgender rights and the visibility of transgender people in this country. This is a step in the right direction.



Stephanie DeLuca is the director of publicity at Melville House.