Not OK: This Wisconsin school canceled a book reading because the book features a trans character
We’ve been all about Jazz Jennings, a 15-year-old transgender YouTube personality and LGBTQ rights activist who has been taking the world by storm in the best way possible. However, one school in Wisconsin cancelled a book reading of Jazz’s children’s book, I Am Jazz. . . just because the main character in it is trans. Not OK on so many levels.
The Capital Times recently reported that Mount Horeb Primary Center, an elementary school in southern Wisconsin, cancelled a previously scheduled reading of the children’s book after the Liberty Council group (which is classified by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group that condones “anti-LGBT discrimination, under the guise of religious liberty,” according to ABC News) threatened to sue.
Before its cancellation, parents were notified of the reading via a letter sent out by the school’s principal, according to Capital Times:
However, some parents didn’t contact the school, but the Liberty Council group instead. The group claimed that to read the book to the students would be “a violation of parental rights,” according to their letter to the school. The group also claimed that because the notice was sent out only one business day before the reading, it seemed to be a move “designed to catch parents off-guard.”
In a press release after the cancellation, the school was giving the board the opportunity to review an unprecedented situation.
“As we seek to address the specific needs of the individual student, the district will also be mindful of the needs of other district students and families, and will strive to keep all of the families whose children may be affected apprised of future actions by the district,” the statement read. “Please know that our continuing goal is to protect all students from any bullying, harassing or intimidating behavior at school so that all of our students may learn together in a safe and caring environment.”
However, the cancellation of the reading was denying students basic rights, according to Brian Juchems, senior director of education and policy at the Gay Straight Alliance for Straight Schools. “We should welcome students as they are, not how we want them to be or how we’d like to them be,” Juchems told Capital Times. “We know that there are really young transgender youth in our schools and we have a responsibility to make sure schools are welcoming and supportive of them.”
The reading was essential for the kids to provide a lesson in inclusivity, not only for transgender youth , but for all students:
Of course, it can be difficult for school officials to make everyone feel comfortable, but comfort for some must sometimes be sacrificed to promote diversity and acceptance of others. We can only hope the staff at Mount Horeb Primary Center reschedules the reading as soon as possible, or risk the loss of an incredibly valuable lesson — a lesson that, sadly, some adults need to be taught, too.
(Image via Amazon.)