On September 18, the school board in Rocklin, California, will address a controversy that arose after I am Jazz, a children’s book about transgender activist Jazz Jennings, was read to a kindergarten class.
The book, which tells Jazz’s story of struggle with having “a girl brain but a boy body,” was brought to school in June by a transitioning kindergartner at Rocklin Academy Gateway School. It was her choice for story-time when books selected by the children are read aloud.
A summer-long controversy blew up on social media where it was falsely charged that the book was read as part of a “coming-out ceremony.” Some parents protested and threatened to sue. Two families removed their children from the school.
The protesters are supported by Capitol Resource Institute, a conservative advocacy group known for its staunch opposition to LGBT rights and lobbying against the California transgender bathroom law.
In response, other parents in the school community and local advocacy groups are uniting in support of the teacher who read the book, the transgender student who offered it, and the right to read LGBT books.
Rocklin Academy officials explained their policies and legal obligations in a fact sheet on gender identity addressed to parents on August 30. School policy currently permits students to bring in books on topics of interest to them, as a way of sparking interest in reading and helping classmates “understand their heritage or culture.”
However, Rocklin Academy is reviewing its literature policy. NCAC is communicating with school officials to ensure that they continue to support the First Amendment rights of Rocklin students and their parents.
Stay tuned for updates.