Should gender identity be discussed in elementary school? That was the topic of discussion at a Rocklin Academy School Board meeting Monday night. Concerned parents, activists, and LGBTQ community members spoke out.
In June, a five-year-old Kindergarten student, born as a boy, revealed herself as transgender to her classmates at Rocklin Gateway Academy. She also shared a book called "I Am Jazz" which illustrated life during the transition process.
Many parents were angered there were no prior notifications and felt they should have more say in their children’s education. Others supported the school officials’ handling of the situation.
"There should be an ‘opt out’ procedure in there by me, from the teachers, on what is going on in the classroom. We get notifications about parking and everything under the sun. This shouldn't be an issue. We should receive emails. We should receive something from them," parent Chad Clark said at the school board meeting.
Hundreds attended the meeting, which was so large it had to be moved to the Rocklin Event Center to accommodate the crowd.
Several attendees waited outside the building when it reached full capacity. The school board heard from both sides of the argument for more than five hours.
"This cycle of fear and hatred. Those others who aren't like me...that cycle has to be broken somewhere,” a supporter said to the board. “And the best place to start that process is with our youngest children so they don't ever learn to hate.”
The school board voted unanimously keep their policy on literature selection, allowing teachers to use other books if age appropriate. Teachers are also required to notify parents before controversial or sensitive topics are discussed in class. The “Opt Out” policy was declined.