- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 27, 2018

A Sacramento-area kindergarten teacher who read her class two books espousing transgender ideology has been named “teacher of the year.”

Kaelin Swaney of Rocklin Academy Gateway received the 2018 Hart Vision Teacher of the Year award from the California Charter School Association this week during the association’s annual conference in San Diego.

“CCSA is proud to recognize Swaney for her commitment to creating a classroom that provides a safe learning environment for every single student,” the association said on its website. “No matter the students’ backgrounds, experiences, situations, or beliefs, Kaelin creates a place where each student is included, supported, and able to learn, grow, and thrive.”

Two days before the end of the 2016-17 school year, Ms. Swaney read her kindergarten class “I am Jazz,” a children’s book by 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 boy who, at some point during the day, reportedly left the classroom, came back dressed as a girl and was reintroduced to the class as a girl.

Parents were not notified about the stunt in advance and only found out about it when their children came home from school.

“All I heard was my son just mentioned his friend, who was a boy, is now a girl,” one parent said at the time.

Several parents reported that, after the lesson, their children were afraid of turning into the opposite sex.

When classes resumed at Rocklin Academy in the fall, a girl who had been in the kindergarten class was sent to the principal’s office for calling her transgender classmate by his male name and referring to him using male pronouns.

Karen England, executive director of the Capitol Resource Institute, a pro-family group based in Sacramento, said she was surprised by the decision to honor Ms. Swaney.

“I do agree with the CCSA, Ms. Swaney has impacted many lives,” Ms. England said in a statement. “She has made ‘significant contributions’ to lives of many children and families, however those contributions have been negative. After her reading of the book and transition ceremony, several students were confused, and traumatized by this situation. I do not consider traumatizing kindergartners an ‘outstanding achievement.’”

Last year, Rocklin Academy parents petitioned the school to adopt a policy notifying them about controversial classroom discussions in advance and giving them the right to opt their children out of certain lessons.

The school passed a policy that stated teachers would “endeavor” to notify parents before controversial topics are discussed “so that parents can also share their views at home.”

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

Rocklin Academy maintained that allowing students to opt out of classroom discussions about gender identity “creates a discriminatory environment that is prohibited by law.”

At least a dozen families pulled their children out of Rocklin Academy following the incident.

Studies have shown that 80 to 95 percent of children who express a discordant gender identity will grow out of it if they are allowed to develop without interference.

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