Should a six-year-old be taught to use transgendered pronouns and believe in so-called gender fluidity? The leaders of Superior Elementary School in Boulder Valley School District, Colorado, think so.
Last November, the school showed children from kindergarten to fifth grade videos from “Queer Kid Stuff” and a stage play about transgenderism to promote “acceptance and inclusivity” especially related to the transgender community. Some parents are outraged and are seeking possible legal remedies.
Superior is a small Colorado town with a population of 13,000. It’s about 20 miles east of the “Republic of Boulder,” which is known for being the home of University of Colorado and the most liberal city in Colorado.
On November 16, 2018, the day before Thanksgiving break, parents received an email from Jennifer Bedford, the school’s principal. Buried deep in all the other normal school updates was a “Save the Date” announcement. It stated that Phoenix, Colorado’s “Trans Community Choir,” would perform a play titled “Raven’s True Self” for children between first and fifth grade.
According to the memo, “This story is about a transgender raven in a community of animals … The story’s message is about the importance of being seen for who you are on the inside, rather than how you are perceived on the outside.” On the day this email came out, the same choir performed the same show for the first to fifth graders at Nederland Elementary School, another school of the Boulder Valley School District (BVSD).
But children at Superior elementary were promised more. The email included links to three videos that would be shown to kids prior to the musical performance: “He, She, and They – What is Gender,” “No More Gender Roles,” and “Expressing Myself, My Way.”
‘Queer Kid Stuff’ Doesn’t Belong in Classrooms
These videos come from a YouTube channel called the “Queer Kid Stuff,” which bills itself as providing an “LGBTQ+ educational webseries for children ages 3+, hosted by a tie-wearing queer lady, Lindsay, and her non-binary best-stuffed friend, Teddy. Gender Studies 101 meets Mr. Rodgers’ Neighborhood!” Some other videos from this channel include “Dragqueen Makeup Transformation” and “Unicorns Are Queer Horses.”
Since the email came right before the holiday, many parents didn’t pay attention to it. After the holiday, a few parents finally clicked the video links and were shocked. For example, in the video “He, She, and They – What is Gender,” Teddy, the gender-confused teddy bear tells Lindsey, “I still don’t know if I am a boy or girl.” Lindsay responds, “Well Teddy, some people aren’t boys or girls. Some people are boys, some people are girls and some people are people.”
Teddy says, “I don’t feel like a ‘he’ or ‘she’ so I guess my pronoun is ‘they.'” Lindsay gives her wholehearted approval: “That’s really awesome, Teddy.” In the other video titled “No More Gender Roles,” Lindsay tells Teddy that “traditional gender roles are “mean, They are not fun and they are big problems.”
After watching these videos, outraged parents wondered why such highly controversial and divisive topics were forced upon young children. One parent told CBS 4 Denver that “[The lesson] goes beyond a simple message of tolerance and acceptance. We support tolerance and acceptance, but this is simply not age-appropriate.” But Randy Barber, a school district spokesman, insisted that these videos and the stage play were age-appropriate. “We really don’t believe that you can be too young to learn about inclusivity and differences in the community,” he said.
Still, after backlash from parents, Superior told parents they were allowed to opt out their kids only from the musical play by emailing the principal. Even though she insisted all videos were age appropriate for the youngsters, Bedford decided only “He, She, and They – What is Gender” would be shown to all kids from kindergarten to fifth grade. But she extended the showing of the video and in-classroom instructions from one to two days.
Although no permission slip or opt-out form was sent home, an estimated 30 percent of parents kept their kids home on the day of the scheduled transgender activities. Still, many parents sent their kids to school on the day of the musical performance, assuming since they had opted their children out, their kids wouldn’t attend either the play nor watch any of those videos but do some other learning-related activities in a different classroom. That didn’t happen either.
Parents Discover What Really Went On
One dad went to school to find out what was going on. He walked into his daughter’s regular first-grade classroom and saw kids whose parents had opted them out remaining in the classroom and watching the video “He, She, and They – What is Gender.” After the video, the teacher had the kids partner up to talk about how they felt inside and what pronoun they each preferred.
Even more shocking to many parents is their discovery that BVSD has been trying to indoctrinate their kids for years. BVSD reportedly pays about $19,000 annually for its staff to be trained by “A Queer Endeavor,” a program in the CU-Boulder Department of Education, on how to embed LGBTQ worldviews into curriculum—a process they call “Queering the curriculum.” Their founder states, “Our approach moves beyond the anti-bullying discourse and works toward systemic change.”
After learned the school had ignored their demand to keep their kids out of such controversial and age inappropriate topics, many parents are angry but too afraid to speak up in fear that they and their children might be labeled transphobic. Still, on November 27, 2018, a few brave families filed a formal discrimination complaint against Superior Elementary School on several grounds, including that the school had violated its own policies regarding how “sexuality information” should be taught and failed to provide all parents with appropriate notification and an opportunity to opt out.
The BVSD responded to parents’ complaint in February by insisting that the topic and content presented in the video and the musical focusing are not part of human sexuality, so they didn’t need to follow the school’s review and teaching policies related to human sexuality and controversial content. This is typical across the nation, as gender identity has been deliberately excluded from the “sex ed” label because of pre-existing laws giving children and parents extra information and opt-out possibilities for such classes. Another hearing is scheduled for April 9.
Is Gender Indoctrination Really Necessary?
The school district insists that the transgender musical, the “queer” videos, and the in-classroom gender fluidity discussions are necessary to “ensure the safety, comfort, and healthy development of the students who are transgender or gender nonconforming while maximizing the students’ social integration and minimizing stigmatization of the students.”
State Sen. Paul Lundeen, a Republican, says, “Every student must be safe in school. Creating confusion for very young students erodes instead of promoting safety. Doing so without parent knowledge or consent is simply wrong.” He is right: promoting gender fluidity to young kids creates unnecessary confusion and some gender-confused youth may do things causing physical harm to themselves.
There is also no scientific evidence that promoting gender fluidity to young children helps develop their empathy and compassion. Rather, the school district and the trans activists’ typical approach, of only permitting their own ideological orthodoxy and loudly condemning anyone who disagrees, is a textbook example of intolerance and divisiveness.
Although both Colorado statute and Board of Education policies recognize the rights of parents and guardian to make decisions about their child’s education in health and sexuality, what has transpired in Superior Elementary is a prelude of where public education is heading in Colorado.
The Democrats in the Colorado State Assembly are pushing for a “Comprehensive Human Sexuality Education” bill, HB19-1032. This bill will require schools to teach children specific topics such as “sexual experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals,” while the bill stipulates religious tenets or doctrines may not even be “implicitly” taught.
Parents’ opt-out options will be limited when gender fluidity topics are taught outside of direct sex-ed classes (that’s the exact argument BVSD used). And, of course, even if parents do keep their kids from school or manage to opt them out of specific classes or presentations, their children are still going to school with all the children who have seen that material and will likely readily transmit it just the same.
Many parents view this bill as the state’s attempt to turn public schools into ideological reeducation camps where schools take on the parents’ role in making decisions about their children’s education in sexuality. Concerned parents staged several protests against this bill earlier this year. Given what has happened in Superior, these parents are fighting an uphill battle in Colorado.