A North Carolina school system recently pulled a children's book, "Jacob’s New Dress," about a boy who puts on girls' clothing.
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools system pulled the book after pressure from the self-described "pro-family" North Carolina Values Coalition, notes The New York Times.
School administrators wanted to use the book to teach about bullying as part of a first-grade lesson, but Tami Fitzgerald of the North Carolina Values Coalition objected.
"I read the book online," Fitzgerald stated. "It’s clearly geared to young children. The book is meant as a tool of indoctrination to normalize transgender behavior. I think a lot of parents would object to that."
According to Fitzgerald, parents did not get any prior notice about the book, and teachers were only told a few days in advance.
One of those teachers told Fitzgerald's group about it, which, in turn, issued a press release:
The purpose of our elementary schools is to teach writing, reading and arithmetic not to encourage boys to wear dresses. CMS is failing our children; in the recent 2016 state academic ratings, 43 of 165 CMS schools achieved overall pass rates below 50% and a majority (59%) earned a grade of C or below when measuring student proficiency and growth.
These lessons found in the book, Jacob's New Dress and My Princess Boy and other transgender curriculum are not appropriate for any child whose parents support traditional family values.
In the book, Jacob tries on a dress and a crown at school.
"I’ll be the princess," Jacob declares, but one of his classmates complains about his clothing choice.
Jacob's mom helps him make a dress to wear to school, while the boy's dad exclaims, "Well, it’s not what I would wear, but you look great."
School system superintendent Ann Clark said the book was part of an "age-appropriate lesson" to help kids understand harassment and bullying for Child Abuse Prevention Month.
"The initial first-grade book selection, which focuses on valuing uniqueness and difference, has been replaced due to some concerns about the book," Clark said.
Ian Hoffman, who co-wrote the book with his wife, Sarah, told The New York Times in an email that the assertion "that a book can turn someone gay, or transgender, or anything else is bizarre."
"If a white kid reads a book about Martin Luther King, is that kid going to become black?" Ian added. "If a ballerina reads a book about football, is that going to make her try out for the NFL?"
Ian compared his character to a girl wearing pants 100 years ago, and how that was viewed by society.
According to Ian, the response to the book has been mostly positive, except for some Pennsylvania parents who were upset that they were not told that the book would be read to children in kindergarten in 2015, and now this issue in North Carolina:
What the North Carolina backlash tells us is that our book is needed. Our hope, when we wrote this book, was that some day it would be considered quaint. We imagined future generations saying, "What was the fuss about?" Clearly, there’s more work to do.