A New York State heath teacher was suspended with pay after parents complained that their seventh-grade students were given information about transgender issues.
“The parents have concerns, and they are mine as well,” Superintendent Vince Canini said Tuesday. He also added that, “We have never had this issue before. We may have to make some policy changes because of it.”
The “issue” at hand concerns handouts that were given to students. All students, between seventh and tenth grade, received a 42-paged handout that included “LGBTQ Terminology.”
Some of the terms included were homophobia, intersex, polyamory/polyamourous, pansexual, bisexual, cisgender, and gender non-conforming.
Sirell Fiel is one of the parents who complained. He says, his seventh-grade son came home with the handout.
“I have no problem with the school talking about diversity. Gay kids are out there, and the kids need to know about it. But the problem I have is that it went so in-depth. That’s too much for 11- and 12-year-olds,” he told the Post Star.
Martha Harvey president and CEO of the Pride Center of the Capital Region, defended the presentation and said this is the first time anyone’s had a problem with it being given since its 12 years in circulation.
“Transgender kids are coming out younger and younger. Middle school is not too early to start,” said Harvey, who noted that her group was invited to present at Cambridge. “If you love your kids, you want them to have the most information possible. If a parent has a problem with this presentation, that’s the parent’s problem.”
The school’s principal, Carolina Goss, was apparently aware of the presentation but had not seen the handout or the presentation herself in advance. She felt the health teacher was fine being in charge of it.
That then leads to the reason the teacher was put on leave. There’s now questioning of whether the teacher read the information before giving the ok for handouts to be given to the students by a guest speaker.
Both identities of the guest speaker and the health teacher have been kept secret, but the school only has one listed health teacher (named Jacqueline Hall).
New sources have reached out for comment from Ms. Hall, but to no avail.
“I would like to again stress that the topic of gender identity was never of concern,” Canini said. “The graphic ‘common terms and definitions’ were. The two are totally separate but have been blurred into one, which is not the case.”
The school district’s investigation into the packets has concluded but Hall is still on administrative leave. In addition, Canini says that district is going to be consulting with our attorney.”