Parents at several primary and elementary schools are complaining that a story read to students in a video storytime is promoting homosexuality.
“The school system is not promoting an LGBQT agenda,” Superintendent Deanna Meadows said.
The program comes through UNCW’s school of communications. Students are recorded reading or reciting the stories, which are then shown to classes via the Internet.
Wednesday’s story was “One of a kind, like me,” by Lauren Mayeno. It tells the story of a boy who decides he wants to dress as a princess instead of a prince in a school play. The boy’s mother takes him shopping for the “perfect purple dress.”
Meadows said the stories are read or recited, and the books themselves are not held up to the camera in the videos. Previous stories have dealt with a child in a wheelchair, and similar themes.
“They’re about being kind to one another,” she said.
Facebook lit up with complaints about the story Wednesday night, with some parents accusing the schools of promoting homosexuality and transgenderism among elementary school kids. Meadows emphasized that there was never any kind of agenda on the part of the schools.
“We are not pushing anything,” she said. “They’re too young for anything like that. In another time, this might have been looked at the same way as a little girl wanting to dress up as a cowboy. Things are just different now.”
County board of Education member Randy Coleman said he was shocked at the story.
“I have been on the phone since last night,” he said. “As a conservative and a Christian, I cannot believe this was allowed in our schools, especially with children this young.”
Coleman said the partnership with UNCW is overall a good thing, allowing children to hear storytelling from different people. The stories are not heavily examined.
“No one knew this was in there,” he said. “The stories haven’t been reviewed by the curriculum director, to my knowledge.”
Meadows said the book should have been reviewed before being allowed in the classroom.
“The idea is supposed to be treating each other the same, even if we are different,” she said. “Some little boys play with dolls. Some girls want to do the same things as boys. It doesn’t mean they are making a choice at a young age.”
Coleman said he intends to have a discussion about the story at the next school board meeting. He encouraged parents to write or email the Board of Education if they are concerned with the program.
“Our education system runs to the left,” He said. “We as parents have got to take control if we want to preserve our values. Pushing things like this on little children cannot be allowed. I am going to work diligently to get this type of material removed from our schools. Young children are not mature enough to deal with this type of subject.”