School Officials Issue Guidance on Books
Seekonk Public Schools officials are encouraging parents to contact elementary school principals if they do not want their children to read certain books.
“The principal is the best person for a parent to contact as they are the supervisor of the library media specialists and teachers and they can ensure there’s proper communication going to the families,” Superintendent Rich Drolet said at Monday’s meeting.
Kyle Juckett, a parent and former school committee candidate, raised concerns over elementary school students having access to books dealing with gender identity.
“Currently there is no policy in place to control the flow of these materials,” Juckett said.
Some of the titles include: “What are Your Words?: a book about pronouns,” “Julian is a Mermaid,” “What Riley Wore,” “I Am Jazz,” and “When Aidan Became a Brother.”
A search through the SAILS Library network revealed some of the books were available at the Aitken and Martin school libraries.
According to the School Library Journal: “I Am Jazz” is “the story of a transgender child based on the real-life experience of Jazz Jennings, who has become a spokesperson for transkids everywhere.”
The SLJ says of “When Aidan Became a Brother”: “this well-illustrated and sweet family tale centers on the experiences of a transgender boy.”
One parent believed teachers were “grossly overstepping their bounds” by sharing these books with their students.
“I had a student come to me, very disheartened,” said Michele Graf, a parent and a teacher at Hurley Middle School. “They were very disheartened because they felt their gender identity was being treated like sexuality issues. We’re talking about human rights, not human sexuality. I’m not as a teacher, going to take a book and teach something you do not want taught to your children. However, that resource does need to be available for children who need to have access to them.”
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