- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 3, 2017

California’s Rocklin Academy has a long waiting list for admissions, but that isn’t stopping some parents from pulling their children out of the prestigious charter school after a kindergarten class was exposed to transgender “indoctrination” without parental notification.

Several families have pulled their children out of the Sacramento-area school since the end of the last academic year, when a male kindergartener was reintroduced to his class as a girl and two children’s books espousing transgender ideology were read to the class.

Karen England, executive director of the pro-family Capitol Resource Institute, has been working with Rocklin families to enact a policy that would require the school to notify parents before controversial matters are discussed in the classroom, but the school has resisted.

“There are overall 11 families that have pulled their kids out of that school,” Ms. England said. “A minimum of 11. There may be more — I just found out about another one today. A lot of parents are just finding out about this, so it’s just the beginning.”

Elizabeth Ashford, a spokeswoman for Rocklin Academy, confirmed that seven children officially have been unenrolled since the end of the last school year. She downplayed the matter, saying it is common for children to change schools for a variety of reasons.

“For context, there are 1,280 students at Rocklin Academy elementary, and there’s a long wait list to get in,” Ms. Ashford said in a statement. “So, [it’s] not a phenomenon.”

At the end of the last school year, a kindergarten teacher read her class two books espousing transgender ideology: “I am Jazz,” by the transgender reality TV star Jazz Jennings, and “Red: A Crayon’s Story,” about a blue crayon that identifies as a red crayon.

The books were read at the prompting of the parents of a male student in the class. At some point that day, the boy left the classroom to change into girls’ clothing, whereupon he was reintroduced to the class as a girl.

Parents found out about the incident only after their children came home from school and told them about it. Some parents reported that their children were upset by the demonstration and were afraid that they would turn into the opposite sex.

A school board meeting to discuss the matter is scheduled for Sept. 18.

Lost in the dispute between parents and officials at Rocklin Academy is whether to affirm the feelings of young children who express a desire to be the opposite sex.

A report published in The New Atlantis by a pair of Johns Hopkins researchers, biostatistician Lawrence S. Mayer and psychiatrist Paul R. McHugh, pointed to evidence that children “outgrow cross-gender identification” at a high rate.

A study conducted by Toronto therapist Kenneth Zucker, for instance, found that out of 25 girls who received therapy to treat feelings of gender incongruence, only three showed signs of gender identity disorder 30 years later.

Mr. Mayer and Dr. McHugh conclude that there is “little evidence that the phenomenon of transgender identity has a biological basis” or that it has “a high rate of persistence in children.”

Rocklin Academy is not the only school bypassing parents to teach children the progressive view of gender identity.

Rod Dreher, senior editor at The American Conservative, published several emails from a father who said he pulled two of his young daughters out of a public charter school in the District of Columbia after one of their teachers read “I am Jazz” to her class and held a discussion about gender identity.

When he wrote an email to the school’s principal asking for his children “to be exempt from any classroom discussions or instruction relating to the topics of gender identity, marital norms or sexuality,” the principal declined.

“The book used is one that is a respected text in honoring the diversity of our children,” the principal wrote. “It is a text that explains a real situation that many children face in self-acceptance, acceptance by others and being true to themselves. We feel the classroom is the appropriate place to share such messages.”

The father requested that the names of the school and principal be withheld because he didn’t want to start a public fight over the issue.

“We just want to raise awareness and encourage parents to ask their children direct questions about this kind of stuff,” he wrote. “If I hadn’t brought up this topic with my daughter, I would’ve never known what she was exposed to, nor would I have known that the school was systematically indoctrinating kids and doing so behind the backs of parents who had asked them to do otherwise.”

Nathan Herzog, dean of the school of education at William Jessup University, said respecting the rights of parents builds trust between parents and teachers and is essential to creating a “holistic educational experience” for children.

“Whether you agree or disagree [that] there should be a discussion of this topic in a class with very young children, there should be no disagreement that parents have a fundamental right to be involved in deciding whether such an issue should be presented to their children at such a young age,” Mr. Herzog said in an email.

Mr. Dreher said conservative parents “cannot afford to be ignorant” about what their children are being taught in school.

“Do you know what your child’s school’s policy is?” he wrote. “Do you know what your child’s teacher thinks about introducing gender ideology to little children? You had better.”

• Bradford Richardson can be reached at brichardson@washingtontimes.com.

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