A group of Maryland parents filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday against the Montgomery County Board of Education for mandating that students from grades pre-K through eight read storybooks that push “extreme ideology” regarding gender identity and sexuality.
Last fall, the school board introduced new “inclusivity” books that promote controversial ideology around transgenderism and focus excessively on children’s romantic feelings. For example, one book tasks 3- and 4-year-olds with searching for images from a word list that includes “intersex flag,” “drag queen,” “underwear,” “leather,” and the name of a celebrated LGBTQ activist and sex worker.
Another book advocates a child-knows-best approach to gender transitioning, telling students that a decision to transition doesn’t have to “make sense”; teachers are instructed to add that doctors only “guess” when identifying a newborn’s sex anyway.
The learning guide to another book about a playground same-sex romance invites school kids to share with classmates how they feel when they “don’t just ‘like’ but… ‘like like’” someone.
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According to attorneys at Becket, a nonprofit public interest law firm, when the school board first went public with the “pride” storybooks, it assured hundreds of concerned parents they would be notified when the books were read and could opt their children out.
Becket says the board repeated that assurance to parents as recently as March 22, 2023. But the very next day, Becket says the board announced that the books would be mandatory for all elementary school students. One school board member, according to the legal group, told concerned parents that opting out “is just telling that kid, ‘[h]ere’s another reason to hate another person.’”
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Becket represents a coalition of religious parents, including Muslims, Catholics, Protestants, Orthodox Christians, and others, who say that despite faith differences, they believe the new storybooks are age-inappropriate and spiritually and emotionally damaging for kids, and they want their kids to have alternative reading material.
“Children are entitled to guidance from their own parents, who know and love them best, regarding how they’ll be introduced to complex issues concerning gender identity, transgenderism, and human sexuality,” said Eric Baxter, vice president and senior counsel at Becket.
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“Forced, ideological discussions during story hour won’t cut it, and excluding parents will only hinder, not help, inclusivity,” he said.
Maryland law and the school board’s own governing policies require parental notice and opportunity to opt out of any instruction concerning “family life and human sexuality.”
Becket lawyers are asking the Maryland district court to immediately block the school board’s “no notice, no opt-out” policy.
The Montgomery County Board of Education did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment.