Sacramento FOX 40 News covered this story last week and interviewed CFC Director of Capitol Engagement, Greg Burt
With the help of his teacher and under the guidance of his parents, a kindergarten student in Rocklin, California announced his new gender identity to his class in a way that confused and scared some of his classmates, and upset parents of the students. Despite receiving numerous parental complaints, officials from the public charter school defended the teacher’s decision to allow a “transition ceremony,” explaining state and federal laws against discrimination prevented them from stopping what happened.
The incident happened at the end of the school year on June 7 at Rocklin Academy Gateway, a charter school northeast of Sacramento. The parents of a little boy wanted to ensure their son’s kindergarten class accepted his “transition” into a female gender identity, so the boy brought some books on transgenderism for the teacher to read to the class. One of the children’s books, titled “I Am Jazz,” is co-written by a biologically male teen named Jazz Jennings who identifies as transgendered girl. In the book, Jazz describes how he “transitioned” from a boy to a girl after a doctor told him at the age of three that his affinity for colors, clothes, and activities typically associated with girls meant he was transgendered, having “a girl brain, but a boy’s body.”
According to seven different parents who heard the same story from their children, sometime between the reading of two transgender books, a male classmate changed from his boy clothes to his girl clothes. Each child also knew they were supposed to use the boy’s new girl name and that their classmate had a girl’s brain in a boy’s body. (For privacy reasons, the name of the child and his parents are not included in this story.) Parents were not notified beforehand this was going to happen. When one parent asked the teacher her account of what happened, the mother was told to ask her child. When parents initially confronted the school administration with the accounts they heard from their children, those accounts were not refuted.
Some children reacted in fear and confusion, while others expressed doubts about their own gender. The following account is from a parent who describes the reaction her child had after witnessing a classmate announce he was a girl. (The parent asked that her name not be used out of fear of retaliation.)
“My children could not stop talking about this for days. They told everyone that they saw. We had to have some serious conversations with our very young children that we were not prepared to have. My child was afraid that at any moment they could turn into a the opposite sex. Other boys in the class came home asking if they could wear dresses too. There was so much confusion amongst the children after seeing this little boy turn into a girl.
In our opinion this very controversial book had no place in a Kindergarten classroom. My child was taught by the teacher that a little boy can become a girl just by going to the doctor. They saw an example of it right in front of them and were told that he was now a girl and had to be called by his girl name. Not only does this teaching expose my child to the highly controversial topic of identity dysphoria, but it was presented as normal and that it makes you special.
Parents have the right to be notified if this type of controversial topic is going to be taught to their kindergartens, or at any age. To expose young children to this type of confusing identity teaching is inappropriate and damaging to their young impressionable minds.”
Dr. Michelle Cretella, President of the American College of Pediatricians, agrees that transgender teaching is damaging to young minds.
“Teaching transgender ideology to children amounts to child abuse,” Dr. Cretella said. “It disrupts normal cognitive development, and leads many children down the path of unnecessary and dangerous hormone treatments and surgeries. The reactions of fear and confusion among young children exposed to gender bending story books and cross-dressing demonstrations similar to what happened at Rocklin School are predictable.”
Cretella points to Dr. Lawrence Kohlberg’s Cognitive Developmental Theory of Gender Identity, which states that while most children correctly identify their sex by age 3, most children under age 7 do not understand that sex is permanent.
“Children under age 7 may believe that a man actually becomes a woman by putting on makeup and a dress,” Cretella explained. “When authority figures teach these youngsters the myth that a child can be trapped in the wrong body, they are potentially disrupting their normal cognitive development… [and] will potentially lead to the fear that they aren’t the sex their bodies clearly indicate they are.”
After the recent media attention, Rocklin Academy Superintendent Robin Stout emailed parents telling them that the details of what transpired in the class can’t be shared with parents “to protect student confidentiality and safety.” Despite this, Stout did dispute that a class ceremony took place, and that the school “neither encouraged nor discouraged the transition of any student.” Stout also said the child transitioned to a girl “before the day the book was read.”
To address parental concerns about the classroom incident the Rocklin Academy Charter School Academy Board of Directors held a special school board meeting on July 31. An attorney hired by the school gave a presentation on Student Identity and California Civil Rights. Attorney Kristopher Carpenter explained that state anti-discrimination laws protect students on the basis of gender identity. If the kindergarten teacher had refused to read “I Am Jazz” in class, the school could get sued, Carpenter explained.
Carpenter also said that state law did not give parents the right to be notified before books about transgenderism are read in the class, because technically they are not considered sex education. He quoted (Ed. Code section 51932(b) which states: “instruction or materials that discuss gender, sexual orientation, or family life and do not discuss human reproductive organs and their functions” are not subject to the parental notice and opt-out laws.
A group of concerned Rocklin Academy Gateway parents aren’t satisfied with the the school’s response. They put together a petition explaining what happened and proposed two policy changes: First they want the school to adopt a parental notification policy, with an opt-out option, that requires teachers to notify parents before controversial material like this is presented to students. Secondly, they want all anti-bullying materials and other books used in the classroom to be approved by the Rocklin Academy School Board with parental input and oversight. The the petition has already gathered signatures from 150 parents
The Rocklin Academy of Family Schools School Board held a regular public meeting at the Rocklin Academy Gateway Campus on August 21st. Watch new coverage here.