A school district in Utah suspended its “equity” book program after receiving backlash from parents whose third-grade children said a teacher read a book about transgenderism in the classroom without first seeking parental consent.
The teacher at Horizon Elementary School read the book “Call Me Max” after a student brought the book to the class and asked for it to be read aloud, according to The Salt Lake Tribune.
Amazon’s description of the book reads:
When Max starts school, the teacher hesitates to call out the name on the attendance sheet. Something doesn’t seem to fit. Max lets her know the name he wants to be called by–a boy’s name. This begins Max’s journey as he makes new friends and reveals his feelings about his identity to his parents. Written with warmth and sensitivity by trans writer Kyle Lukoff, this book is a sweet and age-appropriate introduction to what it means to be transgender.
Doug Murray, a spokesperson for the Murray School District, said the teacher had not vetted the book before reading it to the class.
“[The teacher] just flat out made a mistake,” he said. “That book is not appropriate at the grade level it was being shared.”
For what it’s worth, the author of the book, Kyle Lukoff, told the Tribune the book is appropriate for the age group as it was written for a kindergarten to third-grade audience. Lukoff said the book is “only a problem if you think that being transgender is itself a problem.”
“And it’s not,” the author added. “That’s something the parent then has to work through.”
Nevertheless, parents were reportedly angry the book was shared with their children without their express permission.
The “equity” program was designed to focus on “addressing race and racism and introducing students to more authors of color” and was not created to focus on sex and gender issues.
District officials are not removing any books from the program until the review is complete. Perry said any books currently in district libraries are “fair game for teachers to use,” “including many books that are in the bundle program.”
“In fact,” he said, “the bundle program is by no means an exhaustive list of books on equity. Our libraries have many others.”
The district has not yet announced when the book program might resume.