Preschool's Anti-Bias Curriculum Sparks Controversy

| by Karin Sun

A Colorado preschooler's parents have raised concerns after learning that their daughter is being educated about same-sex issues and gender identity in school. In response, preschool officials have asked them to withdraw their child from the school.

The parents of the 4-year-old girl complained after learning that teachers at Montview Community Preschool and Kindergarten in Denver, Colorado, read books to the children about same-sex couples and worms who were confused about their gender identity, the Denver Post reported.

R.B. Sinclair, the girl's mother, said she considered the stories "sex education" and asked to opt her daughter out of them.

However, officials at the preschool – which is run as a private, parent cooperative – said they could not accommodate Sinclair's daughter because the discussions about sexual orientation are part of the school's larger anti-bias curriculum and are incorporated throughout the day.

The school's anti-bias curriculum is part of a statewide effort to teach young children about sexual diversity and nontraditional gender roles. 

Over the past three years, A Queer Endeavor, an initiative that began at the School of Education at the University of Colorado at Boulder, has helped train 2,500 teachers in the state on how to discuss sexual diversity and differences with students. 

In response to Sinclair's complaint, Montview officials sent home a letter to parents explaining their use of the books, as well as a newsletter suggesting ways for parents to discuss gender issues with their children at home.

Two days after Sinclair met with the principal to share her concerns, she was given a letter asking her to withdraw her daughter from the school because it was no longer "a good fit."

Sinclair, who is keeping her daughter home for the time being, told the Denver Post that the school prioritized one kind of diversity over another.

"There was no consideration for the bias against my family's culture, faith and concerns," Sinclair, whose daughter was raised in a biracial family with both Muslim and Western culture, said.

She added that her daughter was too young to understand the difference between sexual identity and anatomy and came home worried that her father might no longer like girls.

Advocates for gender education said it is critical to start as early as possible.

"Biases start as kids get older and start to see differences as negative," Kim Bloemen, director of early childhood education for the Boulder Valley School District in Boulder, Colorado, said. "At a young age, kids are exploring all different kinds of things. It's about just providing them with all these experiences."

This is not the first time parents have objected to sexual orientation and identity lessons in school.

In October 2015, parents of students in the Parkway school district in Chesterfield, Missouri, challenged proposed changes to the district's sex education program, KSDK reported at the time. The changes would have allowed teachers to educate students on gender identity issues.

Sources: Denver Post, KSDK / Photo Credit: Montview Community Preschool &Kindergarten website via Christian Today, Helen A. Richardson/Denver Post

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