Last updated on February 21st, 2021 at 04:37 am
From the Salt Lake Tribune:
A Murray teacher read a book about a transgender child to a class of third graders last month — which set off a backlash from parents. In response, the school district has now suspended a program aimed at introducing kids to more diverse and inclusive literature.
The uproar started when a student at Horizon Elementary brought a copy of “Call Me Max” from home and asked the teacher to read it aloud during story time. The book is an illustrated account of a young transgender boy who educates his own teacher and classmates about his identity.
The article goes on to quote Murray School District spokesman Doug Perry as saying that the school district stands by the overall program and the inclusion of pro-LGBT propaganda in the “equity books bundle” generally, even noting that the district participates in the Utah Pride conference. But Perry did say that they did not support the decision to read this particular book to third graders, explaining, “[The teacher] just flat out made a mistake. That book is not appropriate at the grade level it was being shared.”
However, according to the book’s Amazon listing, it is intended for an audience age of 7-9 years old, which if anything is on the lower end of the spectrum of third graders. What’s more, as the Tribune notes, the author of the book differs with the school district on this subject. The author, Kyle Lukoff, told the Tribune that the “picture book was written for a kindergarten to third grade audience.” The article goes on to say Lukoff “believes it’s important for young students to see transgender characters and how those individuals are just like anyone else — with their own likes and dislikes and personalities.” [Note, while the article continually refers to Lukoff as a “he,” Lukoff is in fact a biological woman and ‘female-to-male transitioned’ individual.]
The Tribune article includes a document showing the list of all the books offered in the “equity books bundle” program, and it seems that Call Me Max may be only the tip of the iceberg. By way of experiment, I selected one at random to peruse—a book called Be You! by Peter Reynolds. The book is designated on the list as being for Kindergarteners and above. One page reads, “Think for yourself and set your own unique course. It isn’t always easy, but you’ll be heading in the direction of YOU.” Apart from the question of whether even the syntax and grammar are appropriate for Kindergarteners (one could argue that “set your own unique course” is a bit sophisticated for the age group), it is certainly open to debate whether the message is appropriate. Non-conformity and individualism are all well and good, but when you’re trying to usher five-year-olds across a busy intersection to a playground for recess, perhaps it’s better that they learn the lesson of staying in line and following directions rather than that it’s good to “go your own way.”
To take another random example from the list: designated for second graders is the book, A Family is a Family is a Family, which, apart from presumably teaching bad writing, redundancy, and tautological thinking, also explains family “diversity” along the lines described on its Amazon listing [emphases mine]:
When a teacher asks the children in her class to think about what makes their families special, the answers are all different in many ways — but the same in the one way that matters most of all. One child is worried that her family is just too different to explain, but listens as her classmates talk about what makes their families special. One is raised by a grandmother, and another has two dads. One is full of stepsiblings, and another has a new baby. As one by one, her classmates describe who they live with and who loves them — family of every shape, size and every kind of relation — the child realizes that as long as her family is full of caring people, her family is special.
I was able to locate a reading of this book on YouTube. Incidentally, and notably, as you can see from the screenshot below, this video is also available on the YouTube kids app [in my instance of testing, I had the app set for age-appropriateness for kids 5-7 years old].
As illustrated in the video, the book—which, again, per the above list from Murray School District in Utah, is meant for second graders—introduces lesbian moms on page 4: “Both my moms are terrible singers, and they both like to sing really loud.” Later in the book is the explanation of another of fictional children of his family: “One of my dads is tall, and one is short, but they both give good hugs.”
Unfortunately, this kind of ideology-driven curriculum is becoming increasingly typical around the country, and is impacting every age group. The book list from Utah clearly reflects not only insidious messages of LGBT propaganda like Call Me Max that destabilize and confuse children, but also books that would definitely fit under the umbrella of Marxist-inspired “critical theory” about race and gender, which are in many ways just as troubling.
It is crucial that parents remain vigilant to what their kids are being taught in schools, and to look behind the innocuous sounding names of programs like “equity books bundles” to discern what is really being “bundled” into their children’s education.