by Natalie Brunell – Reporter
“ROCKLIN, Calif. (KCRA) — Hundreds of parents packed the a school board meeting for the Rocklin Academy Family of Schools Monday for a passionate debate about gender identity and its place in the classroom.
Some parents proposed a new policy requiring the charter school to let them know if controversial topics, like gender identity, would be discussed in class and allow their students to opt out.
“For them to say that they can teach my child about transgender without me even knowing about it is wrong,” said parent Chelsea McQuistan, who has two children who attend Rocklin Academy Gateway and a third who is about to enter kindergarten.
“Gender and sexuality are not the same thing, and I think we end up in a place where parents can opt out of anything they find offensive, which is subjective,” said Jen Hansen, another parent in the charter school.
The debate was sparked in June when a Rocklin Academy Gateway transgender student brought the book “I Am Jazz,” to her kindergarten class. She then asked the teacher to read the book, which is about a transgender girl’s transition, to the class so other students knew what she was going through.”
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WEBVTT THE SCHOOL BOARDMEETING IS ENTERING ITS FOURTHHOUR.THE TOPIC IS PITTING PARENTAGAINST PARENT.>>rt THIS SHOULD NOT BE AN ISSUE.NATALI HUNDREDS OF PARENTSPACKED THE SCHOOL BOARD MEETINGFOR A PASSIONATE DEBATE ABOUTGENDER IDENTITY IN THECLASSROOM.>>rt FOR THEM TO SAY THAT THEY CANTEACH MY CHILD ABOUT TRANSGENDERWITHOUT ME EVEN KNOWING ABOUT ITIS WRONG.NATALIE:rt SOME PARENTS PROPOSED ANEW POLICY REQUIRING THE SCHOOLTO LET THEM KNOW ABOUTCONTROVERSIAL TOPICS AND ALLOWTHEIR STUDENTS TO OPT OUT.>>rt THE SCHOOL HAS TO NOTIFY USFOR EVERY LITTLE THING THEYTHINK MIGHT BE CONTROVERSIAL, WEWOULD HAVE A PERMISSION SLIPCOMING HOME EVERY DAY.IT’S A SLIPPERY SLOPE.NATALIE: THIS DEBATE SrtPARKED INJUNE, WHEN A TRANSGENDER CHILDBROUGHT THE BOOK “I AM JAZZ”ABOUT A CHILD IN TRANSITION, TOCLASS AND HAD THE TEACHER READITrt ALOUD TO LET THE OTHERSTUDENTS KNOW WHAT SHE WAS GOINGTHROUGH.SOME PARENTS SAY THEIR KIDS CAMEHOME QUESTIONING THEIR GENDER.>>rt THIS BOOK WAS OUTSIDE THECURRICULUM, AND I SEE IT AS ACONTROVERSIAL SUBJECT TO DISCUSSWITH KINDERGARTENERS. NATALIE: ANKUR DHAWAN’S DAUGHTERWAS IN THAT CLASS.>>rt THIS CHILD NEEDS US TO COMETOGETHER AS A COMMUNITY ANDRESPECT THEIR DIGNITY AND THEIRCHARACTER AND THEIR INTRINSICWORTH.NATALIE: CALIFORNIA LAW ALLOWSPARENTS TO OPT OUT OF SEXEDUCATION, BUT GENDER IDENTITYDOESN’T FALL UNDER THATrtCATEGORY.>> IT’S LIKE RACE OR RELIGION ORETHNICITY.IT’S A PROTECTED CLASS BUT IT’SNOT SEX ED.SO PARENTS ACTUALLY DON’T HAVETHE OPPORTUNITrtY TO OPT OUT ANDIT WOULD BE ILLEGAL FOR THESCHOOL TO MAKE IT POSSIBLE TOOPT OUT.>> IT DOES NOT PROHIBIT ANSCHOOL DISTRICT FROM PROVIDINGrtAN OPT-OUT PROVISION FOR SCHOOLDISTRICTS, SO FOR THEM TO SAYTHAT IS JUST DISINGENUOUS.NATALIE: THE SCHOOL BOARD DIDCONSIDER GIVING PARENTS NOTICEABOUT TOPICS SO THEY CAN TALK TOrtTHEIR KIDS FIRST.>> THE SCHOOL IS GOING TOENDEAVOR TO DO THAT, AND IF THEYCAN’T GET TO IT AHEAD OF IT,THEY WILL TRY TO INFORM THE