An Atlanta public elementary school principal told a Catholic couple that their child would need to leave the district to avoid learning about LGBTQ+ issues at the age of five.
An Atlanta couple — who wishes to remain anonymous for fear of retribution — obtained a copy of their child’s incoming teacher’s Amazon classroom wish list. The parents were startled by several of the books, many of which reference sexual orientation, transgenderism, and progressive ideology.
Examples of books include “Stella Brings the Family,” which tells the story of a gay couple, “I Am Jazz,” which discusses transgenderism, and “Our Class is a Family,” which encourages children to view the classroom — instead of their parents — as their source of support.
The same kindergarten teacher posted pictures on her public Twitter account promoting progressive and “anti-racist” ideology. In one picture, the teacher can be seen wearing a t-shirt that reads, “anti-racist.” In another, the teacher posted a photo of her coffee alongside a copy of Ibram X. Kendi’s controversial book “How To Be An Antiracist.”
The family opted to reach out to Morningside Elementary School principal Audrey Sofianos in hopes of switching their child to a classroom that would not present progressive topics to five-year-olds.
“[W]e feel it would be best for both you and our family if [our child] was moved to another classroom that could be more accommodating towards our concerns regarding the book topics,” the father wrote in an email to Sofianos. “We believe in accepting all people and want all children to feel welcome in school, but believe there are ways to do that without reading books explicitly celebrating any specific lifestyle or belief whether it be the lifestyle/beliefs we share or ones we disagree with … We cannot sacrifice our religious beliefs and will have to find an alternative even this late in the process.”
According to emails reviewed by The Daily Wire, the principal said that the books follow Georgia curriculum standards. In a later phone conversation, Sofianos said that the books are not explicitly part of the school’s curriculum, but are available for students and teachers to read as part of the classroom library.
Sofianos said that if the Catholic parents wish to uphold their traditional values, switching classrooms will not quell their fears as the district promotes this agenda in every classroom.
“I want you and your family to be a part of Morningside because it’s an amazing school … but the reality is we are a school that does represent everybody and the reason [the teacher] has a book collection is to pull out a book when the topic is appropriate with the spirit of everyone feeling like they belong, including [your child],” Sofianos said. “It doesn’t matter what class [your child] is in. It doesn’t because these types of books will be read at our school.”
The principal went on to say that learning about gender and sexual orientation does not begin at any given age. Instead, it is presented as a “K-12 thing.” She proceeded to cite the district’s “equity policy” and remind the parents that the district has a Department of Equity and Social Justice.
The concerned parents told The Daily Wire that they live in a liberal area and have many LGBTQ+ neighbors. The duo said that they plan on introducing these concepts to their children, though they feel the topic is inappropriate for a five-year-old to learn in a taxpayer-funded public school.
Pushing progressive ideology appears to be a theme in Atlanta Public Schools. According to a local news outlet, a parent at Mary Lin Elementary School filed a complaint after she uncovered that the classrooms were segregated based on race. The parent alleged that teachers had placed black students in two separate classes with two separate teachers and white kids were placed in six classes with six different teachers.
The Atlanta Public School district told The Daily Wire that they are interested in working towards a solution for the family, though they insinuated that the books help create an equitable and inclusive environment.
“Atlanta Public Schools takes seriously its crucial role of creating engaged citizens, who understand the importance of justice for all, and who value the importance of this ideal as the hallmark of pluralism and democracy. The district models this by maintaining a commitment to ensuring that every student thrives and succeeds by creating learning spaces that are friendly, equitable and inclusive,” a spokesperson said. “We envision school communities where the thoughts and opinions of all students, families and staff are heard and respected, and shared in a manner that preserves the dignity of all. As such, the school administrators in this instance are committed to working with the family to find an amicable solution that works for all parties involved.”
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This article has been updated to include comments from the Atlanta Public School district.