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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

If Mia becomes Mike, parents want to know

"Pride Puppy" is geared for children three to five years old.

If Jayden was cutting school, failing classes and getting in fights, he might not want his parents to know. But his teacher wouldn't keep that a secret -- even if she thought the parents would be angry.

Parents are filing suit to demand schools inform them when their children change names and/or pronouns, reports Eesha Pendharkar in Education Week.

In at least six states, parents are charging that "their 14th Amendment rights to direct the upbringing of their children are violated when schools do not inform them of their children’s pronouns or names," she writes. None have won yet, and no school district has changed its policies yet in response.

What critics call "forced outing" is mandated in Alabama, Indiana and North Dakota, reports Dana DiFilippo in the New Jersey Monitor. "Another five states have laws promoting it and more states have considered similar legislation, according to the Movement Advancement Project."

New Jersey's attorney general filed a civil rights complaint to block a school district's parental notification policy, she writes. A judge ordered the policy suspended pending a hearing.

It's a progressive state, DiFilippo writes, but school officials are nervous.

Officials in some districts have caved to parental pressure and pulled books with LGBTQ themes from library shelves and classrooms. Others have ordered rainbow signs and flags to be removed. Some districts are flouting new state-mandated standards on sex education, designating delicate topics as “at-home learning standards.” Others have ignored a 2019 state law directing schools to implement curriculum teaching students the history and societal contributions of LGBTQ people.

In Montgomery County, Maryland, Muslim and Christian parents have sued the board of education demanding the right to opt their children out of exposure to LGBTQ books and lessons, reports Valerie Richardson in the Washington Examiner.

"Prince & Knight" ends with the characters' wedding.

The board announced a no-notice, no opt-out policy in March after approving 22 “LGBTQ+ inclusive texts” for grades pre-K through 8. The books include Pride Puppy, which “invites three- and four-year-olds to look for images of things they might find at a pride parade, including an ‘intersex [flag],’ a ‘[drag] king’ and ‘[drag] queen,’ ‘leather,’ ‘underwear,’ and an image of a celebrated LGBTQ activist and sex worker, ‘Marsha P. Johnson,’” the lawsuit states.

Another book, Prince & Knight, features two male characters who fight a dragon together and fall in love.

Opt-outs for read-aloud books would be almost impossible to implement. I think teachers would be wise to choose uncontroversial books. Once students are reading for themselves, they can pick books that match their interests.

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