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Monday, March 30, 2020

North Carolina Values Coalition blasts material taught in state classrooms

Schools

Mar 26, 2020

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The North Carolina Values Coalition questions the value of transgender books being taught in some state schools.

Rogue teachers and staff members, as well as school districts who disregard the opinions of parents, have led to sexually explicit material being presented in North Carolina classrooms, according to Tami Fitzgerald, executive director of the North Carolina Values Coalition.

Fitzgerald said she objects to books, sexuality and gender discussions and surveys and other curriculum elements that go against the views of families in districts across the state, including in the Charlotte Mecklenburg and Wake County public school districts.

Books such as "Gender Unicorn" and "Jacob's New Dress” were assigned to Mecklenburg students while Wake County students were forced to take part in a diversity inventory that sought to collect private information on family members while discussing sexuality with very young students. Fitzgerald said.

“I believe these materials are being brought into the classroom because there are teachers working in classrooms in North Carolina who want to indoctrinate students,” Fitzgerald told Old North News. She said this smacks of grooming and exploiting children and should be halted.

Fitzgerald cited parents notifying school boards and administrators of the curriculum, as with the graphic novel “Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic” by Alison Bechdel.

It was assigned to an English III class at Apex Friendship High School in Wake County, Fitzgerald said. The book, about a young girl dealing with the knowledge that her father, a funeral home director and teacher, was a closeted gay man who had affairs with students and other people and committed suicide, is based on Bechdel’s life. 

It also depicts, in some cases in very graphic detail, her awakening as a lesbian, Fitzgerald said.

After some parents objected, principal Matt Wight had the book withdrawn from the class and issued an apology. Wright also said the textbooks used in classes would be examined before they are used.

“It does seem strange that the principal of the school did not know about the book or was not informed about the book,” Fitzgerald said.

She said it shows the level of freedom teachers have, while parents are often denied access to curriculum information. She said in one case parents who asked to examine what was being taught were told they had to come to the school.

“And when she saw it, she was just outraged,” Fitzgerald said.

In an age when massive amount of information is available at a click, school districts are reluctant to share details about what students are being taught, Fitzgerald said. It should be readily available.

Teachers can obtain classroom material and print it out the night before it is taught, she said, ensuring there is little to no oversight.

She said parents need to discuss these concerns with school board candidates and make sure that boards—made up of elected officials who are more responsive to voters—are aware of these practices within the schools.

Fitzgerald said some teachers are themselves gay, lesbian or transgender and want to “indoctrinate” students about these lifestyles. That is a right of parents, she said, not teachers.

The coalition learned from Charlotte Mecklenburg parents and students that children, including some as young as 10 years old, were required to take part in a school survey that asked about their sexual preference and gender identity. That is inappropriate since, in many cases, such terms are unfamiliar to students, and illegal, Fitzgerald said.

“Why on earth would the school board of the largest school district in the state think it was wise to focus on gender fluidity when 42 of CMS schools are on North Carolina’s low-performing schools list?” she asked on the coalition website. “Schools in Mecklenburg County should focus more effort on core academic subjects and less time on social experimentation. After all, what business do schools have asking about a child’s sexual orientation or gender identity?”

Fitzgerald said parents who want to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education, they can contact the coalition or send an email to info@ncvalues.org.

The North Carolina Values Coalition revealed that transgender books are read to students every Feb. 27. It is a policy that has been going on for five years as part of the Human Rights Campaign’s Trans Reading Day.

She said her coalition has been working on this issue for three years. Students are reading material written by Planned Parenthood, the leading abortion provider in the nation, Fitzgerald said, with the group’s name on the bottom of each page.

She added that there are many organizations involved in creating the curriculum that her group objects to, including the Wake County Public School System’s Office of Equity Affairs and groups such as the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Human Rights Campaign, Equality North Carolina, Time Out Youth and the North Carolina Association of Educators.

“This is a far cry from local control of school districts, which has been the norm since the start of public education,” Fitzgerald said.

It is especially rampant in large urban school districts in Raleigh and Charlotte, she said.

Fitzgerald said she thinks such extreme and explicit curriculum — which educators seem “hell bent” on adding to classroom schedules — explains why the enrollments of the Charlotte Mecklenburg School District and Wake County Public School District have been flat while the populations of those areas are exploding.

“I believe it is because they insist in forcing these types of radical programs down the throats of children in these counties,” Fitzgerald said.

She said more families are choosing to home-school their children or place them in private schools. Her children are grown now, but they attended private schools because of curriculum she objected to, Fitzgerald said.

The coalition is backing a bill to mandate that school districts place sex-related curriculum on their websites, notify parents 14 days in advance before such classes are taught, and contact parents and hold public hearings before curriculum changes are made.

The bill passed the North Carolina House, Fitzgerald said, but has yet to clear the Senate.

“We’re hoping the state Senate will take this up and the governor would sign it,” she said.

However, she said Gov. Roy Cooper’s “extremism” makes it questionable if he would sign the bill. Fitzgerald said she hopes he would sign the measure, especially if he runs for a second term. The coalition tracks the votes of North Carolina legislators.

The North Carolina Values Coalition was founded in 2011 and has 35,000 members in the state, according to Fitzgerald. It is a nonprofit, non-partisan, grassroots network that advocates for pro-family positions.

“Our vision is to be a powerful positive political force that advances a culture in North Carolina where human life is valued, religious liberty thrives, and marriage and families flourish,” it states on its website. “Our mission is to equip and build coalitions to impact culture by influencing public policies and elections in favor of life, liberty, and family.”

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