- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Parents who have a problem with their 5-year-olds learning about gender identity at school had better get used to it.

The Rocklin Academy school board voted unanimously Monday in favor of policies that do not prevent what happened at the end of the last school year, when a kindergarten teacher read her class two children’s books espousing transgender ideology without parental notification.

Karen England, executive director of the pro-family Capitol Resource Institute, said the new policy is “wholly inadequate.”

“The policy would do nothing to change what happened on June 7,” said Ms. England, who has worked with Rocklin families to enact a parental notification policy.

A few days before the end of the school year, a kindergarten teacher read her class two children’s books advocating the progressive view of gender identity: “I Am Jazz,” by the transgender reality TV star Jazz Jennings, and “Red: A Crayon’s Story,” about a blue crayon that identifies as a red crayon.

The books were read at the request of the parents of a male student who, at some point that day, changed into girls’ clothing and presented himself to his classmates as a girl.

Parents were not notified of the teacher’s decision in advance and only found out about it when their children came home from school that day. Some parents reported that, after the lesson, their children were afraid they would change into the opposite sex.

When school resumed this fall, a first-grade girl was sent to the principal’s office for referring to her transgender classmate by his old name and pronouns when she saw him on the playground.

The policy passed Monday contains guidelines on literature selection, parental notification and when parents can and cannot opt their children out of classroom discussions.

A revision to the parent/student handbook says teachers will “endeavor” to notify parents before controversial topics are discussed “so that parents can also share their views at home.”

But the policy also maintains that notifying parents before every controversial classroom discussion is not possible.

“Where advance notice is not possible, teachers will endeavor to notify parents via email or verbally after the fact,” the policy says.

The policy also affirms that topics dealing with “gay, lesbian and transgender issues” are open for discussion at Rocklin Academy.

Furthermore, allowing parents to opt their children out of discussions “on the basis of characteristics of protected classes (e.g., race, religion, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, and disabilities) creates a discriminatory environment that is prohibited by law,” the school maintains.

And in some situations, giving parents a heads-up before controversial classroom discussions could be a violation of “student privacy rights.”

“As a result of student privacy rights, parent(s) may not be notified of all circumstances that led the school to choose a particular piece of supplemental instructional material,” the policy says. “For example, if the school determines that it is necessary to prevent racial harassment or bullying, it might choose to expose students to material on racial discrimination to sensitize students about the need to teach others with respect.”

Rocklin Academy Superintendent Robin Stout said in a statement the policy recommendations reflect parental input and “will help create a positive learning environment, while also fulfilling our legal obligations to protect all students from discrimination.”

Several families have pulled their children out of Rocklin Academy since the incident last June. The Sacramento-area charter school boasts a long waiting list and is considered one of the best in the region.

Ms. England said families will continue to leave if their rights are not respected.

“They’ve made it clear that they will not allow parents to opt out under the policy,” she said. “They are doubling down. I have never, in all of my work over 20 years, run into a school board that is so anti-parent.”

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