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Jazz Jennings’ book was read to first graders. The school, facing backlash, says it is ‘in line with our values.’


Jazz Jennings’ 2014 children’s book I Am Jazz is once again sparking controversy – along with much support. (Photo: Dial Books / Amazon)

I jazz – 2014 autobiographical children’s picture book about Jazz jenningsLife as a young transgender girl and precursor to the wildly popular TLC reality show Of the same name – there is no stranger to dispute. In 2020, in fact, because many times people have tried to suppress it in schools and libraries, I jazz Was one of the most restrictive and challenging books of the decade. It was a difference, Jennings Told yahoo life At the time, she found it both “disappointing and honorable”.

Now that pattern continues in Bellingham, Wash., Where a book read by a teacher in her first grade class has pierced the hornet’s nest – but with much of the discussion, apparently, coming from outside the community.

“In my experience,” longtime district parent Heather Davidson tells Yahoo Life, “Our community is a unique symbol of acceptance and appreciation for diversity in all its forms.” Therefore, she says, “Vitriol is greatly damaged in our teachers and the school board president and superintendent and in the community in which I live and serve and work.”

Bellingham, Washington, United States - 2018/07/14: Wall Mural, Bellingham, Washington State, USA.  (Photo via Getty Image by John Graeme / Lightket)

Bellingham, Wash., Has noticed that trans-citriol is seen by outsiders in her school district in a hurry after reports of her being a first-grader at IM Jazz. (Photo: John Graeme / lighterket via Getty Image)

The vitriol appears to have taken root after an anonymous caller notified the conservative’s “campus bias tip line” Young America Foundation, Prompting it to run the story on its website; It was later picked up by conservative publications Post millennialsAnd Daily telegram.

In the original story, there is a screenshot of an exchange between an unhappy Bellingham parent, who refers I jazz And asks, “Have you read this book in first grade today?” And the teacher, who answers, “Yes, I have read the book. It is available as a part of our equity, diversity and inclusion collection in our school library. As a district, we are working hard to support all members of our school community and promote inclusiveness through understanding and compassion. I am happy to answer any questions or concerns you may have. “

After the story, school district spokesman Dana Smith told Bellingham Herald, “We are receiving all kinds of messages, some of which are more disgusting.” The target also included school board president Jane Mason, who was called into the YAF story as the owner of a local sex shop that aims to show people that “sex is nothing to be ashamed of.” “He did nothing” about the alleged controversy as to why he is in evidence. But, Mason pointed out Herald, “Most hate speeches in our community are not coming from people.”

Within the school community, in fact, the teacher’s reading support has doubled. I jazz And of transgender youth in general. Superintendent Greg Baker posted a lengthy statement on the school district’s website about how the national “focus” around the book and Mason’s shop is promoting hate speech and harassment based on our values ​​as a district and We have a commitment to equal, diverse and inclusive education. ”

Regarding the book, he said, “Reading various books and learning about all kinds of life is in line with our values ​​in our strategic plan,” Bellingham Promise. We believe that all children should be loved, and we believe that diversity enhances a strong and healthy community. “Regarding the treatment of school employees, they write,” Our employees are the backbone of our education system, and we stand with all those who engage in this important work of equity, diversity and inclusion. Our zero tolerance policy regarding harassment, intimidation and bullying for our students applies to any treatment in our organization, resulting in their harassment, bullying or bullying. We treat all adults, students and families in Burlingam Public Schools with respect and respect. Smith directed Yahoo Life in an online statement.

That stance has earned public acclaim by many in the community, including at least one district teacher, who took to account his popular “@Winteacher” TikTok for posting a video – currently viewed more than 281,500 times – Note, “I’m just feeling” really proud and really grateful for the district I work in.

On Twitter, another district employee shared that “in response to trans-harassment, including the book… I jazz In the school curriculum, and the president of the Bellingham Public School Board, there have been antisemitic attacks on many of my colleagues and my opposing allies. I have the following description. “

The statement said in part, “The unequal support of our community educators and policy makers for the inclusion of transgender stories in the curriculum and in library collections. We strongly condemn efforts to marginalize and exclude those voices Which do not conform to gender binary concepts. Furthermore, we believe that transgender voices and stories have been excluded from schools and libraries for too long, resulting in hooliganism and violence against the transgender community. “Against In response to “hate speech” I jazzIt continues, “We commit ourselves to ensuring that marginalized voices and stories are included in our library collections and integrated into the curriculum.”

That college earned praise for Davidson, who has a 2nd grader and 4th grader in the district of Bellingham, as well as two grown children, who were also educated there.

“When I see the school district in action [standing its ground]This is the experience we have as a district family… “she tells Yahoo Life, noting that in her 20 years as a parent in the district she” lives in a state of gratitude. “

She says that many people in her community are “aggravated by the reaction to working so well in our community … especially when you consider the rate of suicide between trance and nonways”. 60 percent apply self-harm… So, if we are thinking about inclusivity and representation,… it is hard for me to imagine coming from such a closed minded, ignorant place. ”

The dispute also comes between a national Barrage of anti-trans laws Further or being enacted in more than 30 states.

Davidson admitted that she was speaking only for herself and from her own experience that she had been known as Mason for 10 years, and that they met while doing advocacy work for people who have committed sexual assault and domestic violence. Had experienced

“She leads all kinds of efforts in our community … and she is working to provide inclusive places that are destroying sex, which is a very human thing,” she says , Given that some conservative media coverage seems “hung” about him. The store, announcing on social media that it is “not scary”, noting that it should be if it is saying that it is not. “What’s creepy, having sex in the dark and having seeded shops, where people go in and out of dimly lit buildings and are embarrassed or ashamed,” says Davidson. “And it doesn’t happen there.”

As Mason, who did not respond to Yahoo Life’s request for comment, reported Bellingham herald Regarding her role in the community and her connection to the current controversy, “Our shop serves a large number of queer and trans people.” I feel honored to play a role in his life. “If anything, all this vitriol shows how much more work we need to do to support trans kids,” he said.

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