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Book about transgender kid sparks debate

Posted: 11:01 AM, Nov 28, 2015
Updated: 2015-11-28 17:01:11Z
Book about transgender kid sparks debate

MOUNT HOREB, Wis. (AP) — An southern Wisconsin elementary school canceled a planned reading of a children's book about a transgender girl after a group threatened to sue.

The Mount Horeb Area School District released a statement Wednesday saying it will not proceed with its planned reading of the book "I am Jazz," the Capital Times reported. The district said it would give the Board of Education the opportunity to address a situation, for which the district has no current policy.

Last week, the principal of Mount Horeb Primary Center sent a letter to parents saying the book would be read and discussed because the school has a student who identifies as a girl but was born with male anatomy.

"We believe all students deserve respect and support regardless of their gender identity and expression, and the best way to foster that respect and support is through educating students about the issue of being transgender," the letter said.

The Florida-based Liberty Counsel group threatened to sue, saying it was contacted by concerned parents. In a letter to the school district, the group contended that reading the book would violate parental rights. The Southern Poverty Law Center classifies the Liberty Counsel as a hate group that advocates for "anti-LGBT discrimination, under the guise of religious liberty."

In its statement Wednesday, the district said as it seeks to address the needs of the individual student, it will be mindful of the needs of other students and families. It also said families whose children may be affected will be notified of future actions, and the goal is to protect all students from bullying so they can learn together in a safe environment.

The school district was closed Friday, and emails to the superintendent, elementary school principal and others were not immediately returned to The Associated Press.