Drew Zahn is a WND news editor who cut his journalist teeth as a member of the award-winning staff of Leadership, Christianity Today's professional journal for church leaders. A former pastor, he is the editor of seven books, including Movie-Based Illustrations for Preaching & Teaching, which sparked his ongoing love affair with film and his weekly WND column, "Popcorn and a (world)view."More ↓Less ↑
An elementary school in Oxford, Mass., has sent a letter to parents announcing that the night janitor who finished the last school year as a man would begin the next as a woman.
“Students may notice and ask about the differences in our custodian from last year to this,” reads the letter from the district superintendent and principal of Clara Barton School. “If they ask at school, they will be given a simple and straightforward answer. The best thing to tell them is that our custodian used to be a man. She has changed her gender role and is now a woman.”
Outraged relatives of the children then contacted the non-profit advocacy group MassResistance, which obtained a copy of the letter.
“Whether or not one agrees with or supports the decision of our custodian,” the letter reads, “it is important to note that the Oxford Public Schools does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, national origin, sexual orientation or disability. We expect our custodian to be treated with the same respect as every other employee.”
The letter also includes a list of websites for parents to seek additional information on transgender issues.
Brian Camenker, president of MassResistance, however, told WND that the links provided as “Internet resources” were shocking, especially coming from an elementary school.
“The links they provide were to radical homosexual and transgender sites,” Camenker said. “It is really scary that the people teaching our young kids consider this normal and something kids should be involved in.
“Some of these websites,” Camenker added, “even suggested children should be involved in that kind of activity.”
Included, for example, was a link to the TransKids Purple Rainbow Foundation, which declares on its website, “Our children aren’t pink or blue – but rather – various shades of purple.”
The TKPRF website further states the group “is committed to the premise that Gender Identity Disorder is something a child can’t control, and it is society that needs to change, not them,” and that the group will “strive to encourage families to allow their children the ability to grow up free of gender roles.”
Another site parents were directed to declares, “We promote the understanding and acceptance of all people: Transgender, Transsexual, Crossdresser, Agender, Gender Queer, Intersex, Two Spirit, Hijra, Kathoey, Drag King, Drag Queen, Queer, Lesbian, Gay, Straight, Butch, Femme, Faerie, Homosexual, Bisexual, Heterosexual, and of course – You!”
“The school is pushing a radical and dangerous agenda on the fragile minds of young kids,” Camenker told WND. “It’s utterly reprehensible.”
WND attempted to contact the principal and superintendent of the school, but phone calls were not returned.
The school website, however, declares that Clara Barton School “recognizes that children, parents, and teachers all have the right to learn, the right to be safe, the right to be respected, and the right to be appreciated for their similarities and differences.”
And though some have called for the janitor’s dismissal, the school’s letter to parents states twice that the school does not discriminate on the basis of “sexual orientation.”
Camenker told WND, however, that sexual orientation and gender identity aren’t necessarily the same thing, and the state’s laws that forbid discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation may not apply.
“Massachusetts has bill before the Legislature that would protect gender expression, but it was killed the last time it was proposed,” Camenker said. He added that while the school may have been frightened by the vague definition of the state’s “sexual orientation” laws, “Currently there is nothing in Massachusetts’ general laws regarding gender identity or expression.”