Earlier this school year, Maryland’s largest school district revised its curriculum to include a new reading list of books with young LGBTQ characters in an effort to be more inclusive, but the reading list is getting pushback from some families who argue that Montgomery County Public Schools should allow an opt-out policy so their children won’t have to read the books or participate in lessons about them.
The reading list introduced several new books for students in prekindergarten to eighth grade that feature LGBTQ characters as part of the school system’s English language arts curriculum. The books include “My Rainbow” — a story about a mom who makes a wig for her transgender daughter — and “Love Violet” — a picture book about a shy young girl who mulls over how to give a Valentine to her crush, a girl in her class named Mira.
The stories on the list were recommended by a group of parents, community members, students and staff members, and the books were vetted by a committee of five staff members. Each book was posted online for parents to review. In an announcement in January unveiling the new material, the school system wrote, “As with all curriculum resources, there is an expectation that teachers use the texts as a part of instruction,” but that the materials were “optional as it is standard practice that teachers have a choice regarding which materials to use.”
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