Georgia teacher fired after reading book on gender to fifth-grade class

A decision to fire an elementary school teacher from Georgia has been upheld, after she read a children’s book on gender identity to her fifth-grade class earlier this year.

The Cobb County School Board of Education voted 4-3 along party lines to uphold Katie Rinderle’s termination, overruling a tribunal that had said she should not be fired. “The district is pleased that this difficult issue has concluded; we are very serious about keeping our classrooms focused on teaching, learning, and opportunities for success for students,” the board of education said in a statement Friday.

Rinderle worked at Due West Elementary School, in Marietta, Ga., and read the storybook “My Shadow Is Purple” by Australian author Scott Stuart to her class in March.

The picture-book is about a child who reflects on his mother’s shadow being “as pink as a blossoming cherry” and his father’s shadow that’s “blue as a berry,” and says their shadow is purple. Some parents complained, although Rinderle said others had also expressed their support for the lesson.

Rinderle, a teacher with 10 years’ experience, was removed from her classroom and the Cobb County School District accused her of violating the district’s policies on teaching controversial issues, and urged her to resign or face termination of employment. She was issued an official notice of termination on June 6.

Rinderle sought to overturn her firing, and a tribunal of retired educators, appointed by the Cobb County Board of Education, determined following a hearing that although she had violated district policies, she should not be fired.

However, on Thursday the Cobb County School Board of Education voted along partisan lines to reject the tribunal’s decision, with three Democrats opposing the decision to fire her and four Republican lawmakers upholding it.

School district lawyer Sherry Culves, speaking earlier this month at the hearing, argued that “the Cobb County School District is very serious about the classroom being a neutral place for students to learn. A one-sided viewpoint on political, religious or social beliefs does not belong in our classrooms.”

Especially_the_lies,
@Especially_the_lies@startrek.website avatar

I’m a teacher. I bought this book for my own children. It’s a book about being true to yourself, even when you don’t feel like you fit in. You don’t have to be “blue” or “pink” if you feel like you fit into both categories.

Yes, it’s a book about being trans, but there are other ways to read the book, especially if your audience is young. Accepting and loving yourself. Inclusion. Tolerance. It’s a sweet book, and so of course people are going to get mad… it teaches kids acceptance, not hate!

Cleverdawny,

Yeah. That’s the problem Republicans have with it

WhatAmLemmy,

If it promotes acceptance of “others”, conservatism HATES it.

100_kg_90_de_belin,

They shrank their whole political agenda down to “we hate them because they ain’t us”

FlyingSquid,
@FlyingSquid@lemmy.world avatar

Five people downvoted you. What the fuck is wrong with those people? How insecure can they be to downvote a comment like this and not even respond?

BEZORP,

I'm not seeing any downvotes on the kbin web app

ares35,
ares35 avatar

what was the point of the school board appointing a 'tribunal' if they had no intention of honoring its decision (if it didn't go "their way")?

lagomorphlecture,

The tribunal could have sided with them and it would have looked more legit if it had gone that way.

artvandelay,

Can we at least wait until high school for this stuff? Just let kids be kids

jeffw,

Kids know about sex lol. They also understand gender

Fallenwout,

Just ban Murica from the world. I am sorry for the sane Americans, but you just have to take the fall for mankind.

zd,

Good. Teach basic skills. Gender shit doesn't belong.

quindraco,

The book doesn’t mention any “gender shit”.

andallthat,

What’s a “book”? Wouldn’t want any of that witchcraft near our kids!

Why go and confuse people? The world is a simple place. There’s only one gender and that’s Man. There’s Man and then there’s Weaker Man with Boobs. There’s only one colour and that’s White, which also comes in darker shades. See how that resolves all conflict? We’re all white men!

Twentytwodividedby7,

Fuck off, a book like this will have zero adverse effects on children. I would say acceptance of others is a basic skill

BEZORP,

Not a lot of things more basic than your gender.

It's easy for us cis folks to hand wave it away as pointless frippery, since everyone already acknowledges our gender identity.

We have the privilege of not even having to think about it or question how we feel.

Not so easy for some other people.

FlyingSquid,
@FlyingSquid@lemmy.world avatar

Don’t teach kids that boys and girls exist. Got it.

Franzia,

I was born transgender and I’ve led my life wondering what’s different about me and then repressing my need. Damn getting read like one book at age 10 could’ve made my life way easier and more productive.

LadyAutumn,
@LadyAutumn@lemmy.blahaj.zone avatar

What are you talking about?? Every single human being has a gender. How is understanding that not counted as a basic skill? You can’t even teach basic English without broaching the subject of gender.

School should actively deconstruct bigotry. So that future generations are less bigoted and less hateful of minorities. We cannot rely on parents to do this, as parents can be racist they can be sexist they can be homophobic they can be anti Semitic, they can hate the poor, they can preach hatred of those who are different, they can abuse their children for being different, and many other examples of parents indoctrination their children into hatred and violence.

Bigots should have absolutely no say in education. The education system has to assume that parents can and will teach their children hate. And it has to actively work against this. Empathy and compassion are 2 of the most important basic skills in making an emotionally well rounded adult. There is no room whatsoever for tolerance of hatred in education. If you’re bigoted, if you hate minorities, then you should have absolutely 0 say in what takes place in a classroom. Someone who thinks slavery is right doesn’t get a say in how children are taught. Someone who thinks women should have no right to divorce and no bodily autonomy should have no rights whatsoever to enforce their ideological hatred in classrooms.

YeeterOfWorlds,

You know there’s a saying that’s been gaining traction on the right “they don’t have kids, they have yours.” The saying is warning parents about people like you.

Lot of people want to decide how to raise other folks kids these days, indoctrinate other people’s kids without the knowledge or consent of the parents.

LadyAutumn,
@LadyAutumn@lemmy.blahaj.zone avatar

Teaching children to be tolerant and accepting of minorities isn’t indoctrination. Its literally the opposite. Children don’t belong to their parents. They have a right to be taught compassion and tolerance for others.

If you disagree with that then I don’t really care what you have to say. If you think hatred and bigotry have a place in this world, then it doesn’t matter who you are or what else you believe. You are either openly fascist yourself or a “fellow traveler”, either way you are part of the exact same movement that killed 60 million people 7 decades ago and I have no interest in engaging in any kind of discussion with you.

TheMage,

deleted_by_moderator

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  • rivermonster,
    1stTime4MeInMCU,

    demands neutral classroom

    abolishes gender entirely

    accidentally based

    Maeve,

    “ A one-sided viewpoint on political, religious or social beliefs does not belong in our classrooms.”

    With zero sense of irony.

    Blamemeta,

    Good shit. Elementary school kids don’t need to hear that nonsense.

    jeffw,

    I think most 10 year olds know what gender and sexuality are. I had sex ed in 5th or 6th grade

    3L54,

    Biological gender yes. But for such young children I think its more confusing than helpful to talk about a gender that is freely chosen by an adult on themselves.

    Uranium3006,
    Uranium3006 avatar

    You know what's really confusing? Feeling Gender dysphoia and not knowing that's what it is.

    stopthatgirl7,
    stopthatgirl7 avatar

    “Such young children”

    How old do you think 5th graders are?

    Blamemeta,
    stopthatgirl7,
    stopthatgirl7 avatar

    Yes, thank you, I was asking the person I directly replied to.

    3L54,

    Well. Here in northern europe 5th graders are 11 years old. So just about to start puberty and very confused already. I just dont think learning about other than biological gender is of any benefit for so young children. Sexual education in itself is ofcourse important.

    FlyingSquid,
    @FlyingSquid@lemmy.world avatar

    I’m sorry, but what was wrong with you as a child that things about sexuality were so confusing to you? They were explained to me clearly and I had no problem understanding them.

    BEZORP,

    I didn't really even think about it at all, since I fit in pretty well. I just ignored it. But I'm cis af, and not everyone is. So I can see the benefit to those people.

    Also I don't think you remember how arbitrary all the gender norms sound when you first learn them. It all sounds totally unnatural at first.

    FlyingSquid,
    @FlyingSquid@lemmy.world avatar

    Just because it sounded “unnatural” to you does not mean that is universal.

    BEZORP,

    My point is it's learned behaviour. Most people just forget the learning of it

    stopthatgirl7,
    stopthatgirl7 avatar

    About to start puberty seems like the perfect time to start teaching kids about gender and explaining the things confusing them. Which is the age the kids in this situation are.

    CrypticFawn,

    But for such young children I think its more confusing than helpful to talk about a gender that is freely chosen by an adult on themselves.

    My 11 year old niece just told me that no, it isn’t. I asked her. =) She doesn’t find the concept of gender confusing at all.

    It’s moronic adults that are trying to pretend that it’s confusing that are causing the issues.

    stopthatgirl7,
    stopthatgirl7 avatar

    Way too many folks think kids are stupider than they are.

    And way too many folks have learned using kids as an excuse works when they want to normalize their bigotry.

    Perfide,

    What it really is, is that they’re too stupid to understand simple concepts, but think they’re geniuses. If they, an adult “genius”, don’t understand the concept, then that must mean it is too complex a concept for children, an incorrect concept, or both. The idea of introspection, that maybe they are the idiot and just don’t get it, never even crosses their minds.

    Plus just bigotry for bigotry’s sake, of course. There’s plenty of that going around too, unfortunately.

    FlyingSquid,
    @FlyingSquid@lemmy.world avatar

    There is no such thing as “biological gender.” You’re talking about sex. Gender is a social construct. That you don’t even know that suggests you’re way out of your element here.

    Uranium3006,
    Uranium3006 avatar

    More importantly, they are exposed to things that the loony right doesn't want them to hear, like the idea of consent or that LGBT people exist and aren't going to burn in hell. That's the parts they hate

    BackOnMyBS,
    @BackOnMyBS@lemmy.world avatar

    yep, i had sex ed starting in 4th grade. im still a straight male, so maybe it didn’t work?? /s

    CrypticFawn,

    Trans kids exist, ya dingbat.

    kier,

    And most adult trans people wish they transitioned before puberty. Puberty mess sh*t up 😅

    Uranium3006,
    Uranium3006 avatar

    I was one.

    quindraco,

    You have no idea what the book in question is actually about, do you?

    FlyingSquid,
    @FlyingSquid@lemmy.world avatar

    Why are you so threatened by a biological boy wearing a dress?

    Kittengineer,

    It exists and kids have a gender identity whether you hide it from them or not.

    It’s the same broken logic that somehow sex education is somehow causing kids to have sex. Most guys don’t even realize how women pee, sex education has been so broken.

    Republicans fucking love an ignorant populace.

    Blamemeta,

    Mate, transitioning is like getting a face tattoo. Its a bad idea, but no one can stop you. But kids can’t consent, and it shouldn’t be taught to kids. This book goes a step further and acts like its a good thing, and not a last resort for mentally ill suicidal people.

    Chozo,
    Chozo avatar

    You haven't read a single bit of the book in question, have you?

    Quick, without using Google, do you even know the name of the book?

    Blamemeta,

    My Shadow is Purple. Unfortunately, I read the post.

    Chozo, (edited )
    Chozo avatar

    Okay great! Now let's take it one step further. Here's the full book read aloud. What part of this sounds like self harm to you?

    EDIT: Oh, you're off commenting in other threads now. Guess you didn't have an answer to this. Figured.

    posedexposed,

    Not everyone feels like a manly man or a girly girl. On another note, not everyone feels any empathy for people who aren’t like themselves, as you just demonstrated.

    Teaching kids that some people feel different and not to stigmatize them is not the same as whatever nonsense you’re implying.

    Blamemeta,

    So what if they aren’t a manly man or a girly girl? That doesn’t mean you need to change gender. You can teach kids to be themselves without bringing self-harm into it.

    stopthatgirl7,
    stopthatgirl7 avatar

    And guess what? This book isn’t “bringing self harm” into anything!

    Take your straw man back to whatever garden you stole it from.

    Blamemeta,

    Transistioning is self harm. Chopping off body parts is dictionary definition self harm.

    stopthatgirl7, (edited )
    stopthatgirl7 avatar

    Let me put this in small words for you:
    The book is not telling anyone to transition.

    I’m not engaging your straw man. Put it back outside propped up in a dung heap where it belongs.

    CrypticFawn,

    Transistioning is self harm

    No, it isn’t.

    NOT_RICK,
    @NOT_RICK@lemmy.world avatar

    TIL I mutilated myself when I had my tonsils taken out

    Chozo,
    Chozo avatar

    Removing body parts that cause distress to a person is normal medical practice. If your appendix is causing you harm, what do they do? Remove it. If your tonsils are causing you harm, they remove them.

    For people with gender dysphoria, certain body parts will cause them psychological harm. Removal or modification of those parts has been shown to provide significant, marked relief for patients who opt for those procedures.

    "Self harm" refers to a mutilating practice that serves no functional purpose. There is a functional practice to gender-affirming surgeries. Quit trying to make up your own definitions for words and phrases and pretending that your version is reality. Literally thousands of professionals in this field disagree wholeheartedly with your uneducated, uninformed, baseless assessment.

    Read a fucking book. But not My Shadow Is Purple; that seems to be a bit too advanced for you just yet. Have you heard of The Very Hungry Caterpillar? That might be a good starting point.

    EDIT: Wait, no, I forgot the main character in that book transitions into a butterfly. I'll ship you a copy of Goodnight Moon, maybe.

    Kittengineer,

    You can teach kids to be themselves without bringing self-harm into it.

    That’s exactly what the book teaches…

    CrypticFawn,

    You can teach kids to be themselves without bringing self-harm into it.

    Good thing the book teaches that.

    posedexposed,

    Can you not tell the difference between “self-acceptance of not following gender norms” and “electing for sex reassignment surgery” because your comments sound like you’re oblivious to the SEVERAL steps between those things.

    Imagine insinuating that informing kids about non-gender conformity has literally anything to do with pushing surgery on them.

    such_lettuce7970,
    such_lettuce7970 avatar

    You're absolutely correct that a person doesn't need to be a "manly man" or a "girly girl". But you're confusing gender expression for gender identity. Neither my sister or I are particularily feminine, at least not in most stereotypical ways. She's cis. I'm trans. I sure as hell haven't gone through the journey of transition just because I wanted to enjoy a certain activity or wear a certain type of clothes. I could've done that before and still gotten less hate. Sure as hell getting sick of people telling me I'm confused (first in my life for being bi, later for being trans - same chapter in the bigots' playbook really) when they can't even grasp simple concepts because they don't apply to them. Is it lack of empathy? Inability to trust that other people understand themselves even if you don't understand them? Or is it just being fucking stupid?

    stopthatgirl7,
    stopthatgirl7 avatar

    This book does nothing of the sort, just says it’s ok to feel like you’re not one thing or the other. It’s not telling kids to go get surgery, ffs.

    I’m not even touching the hot mess that is the rest of your comment.

    girlfreddy,

    @stopthatgirl7 @jeffw @Blamemeta @Kittengineer

    My gawd. The idjits just crawl out of the woodwork whenever gender is mentioned.

    My block button is working overtime today.

    Blamemeta,

    deleted_by_moderator

  • Loading...
  • stopthatgirl7,
    stopthatgirl7 avatar

    …Tf are you on about?

    posedexposed,

    I can’t imagine how thick and foggy the lens is between your head and the world around you.

    CrypticFawn,

    Mate, transitioning is like getting a face tattoo

    Thanks for letting everyone know you’re full of shit.

    it shouldn’t be taught to kids

    You think trans kids are taught to be trans? With that shitty logic, we should be able to teach kids to be straight and cis… except wait, that doesn’t work either! Doh!

    This book goes a step further and acts like its a good thing, and not a last resort for mentally ill suicidal people.

    Ugh, go spread your filth on Truth Social.

    Uranium3006,
    Uranium3006 avatar

    The loony right is mad they're losing their monopoly on teaching kids about sex and gender, which they absolutely do just badly and wrongly

    WhatAmLemmy,

    Conservatism’s view of school “appropriate” gender norms:

    “When you’re a star they let you do it. You can do anything … Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.”

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