Rocklin Parents Speak Out at School Board Meeting After Transgender Kindergarten Lesson

ROCKLIN -- Rocklin Academy Gateway School officials and district administrators said they've heard from a lot of parents, teachers and stakeholders about a kindergarten lesson that focused on what it means to be transgender.

Back in June, a Rocklin Academy student, born a boy, was reintroduced to her class as a girl. A teacher then chose to read two books about being transgender to her class without notifying parents or administrators beforehand.

Since then, a wave of backlash has come from several parents and the public.

The board meeting Monday night was moved to Rocklin Events Center to accommodate the large crowd.

Many parents supported the school's decision to introduce a difficult topic to the children. Others felt they should have more say over what their children can and cannot learn.

"To teach my kid that biologically this boy was born a boy and to teach him that now he's a girl is very confusing and I feel that it's a lie," said Chelsea McQuistan.

The school administration sent the board five recommendations, some that change or amend their rules. Others would keep the rules the same. They are as follows:

  1. Affirm existing literature selection policy, allowing teachers to use books outside curriculum if it's age appropriate.
  2. Provide mandatory notice to parents before controversial or sensitive topics are introduced to kids.
  3. Affirm commitment that no students will be bullied.
  4. Adopt policy that would notify parents and students that any student may request a special accommodation if a student is uncomfortable using a particular bathroom.
  5. Decline to adopt an "Opt Out" policy. Parents wouldn't be allowed to opt their kids out of a lesson if they find subject controversial (outside of sex education).

Public comments started at 6 p.m. After more than five hours of impassioned statements from both sides of the aisle, a motion to accept all of the recommendations passed unanimously among the school board's five members

"Gender identity is part of a protected class of characteristics that include religion, race, ethnicity, disability," said Elixabeth Ashford, spokesperson for Rocklin Academy Gateway School. "So, it is definitely an environment where the school's trying to make it an equal environment and a safe environment for all students."