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Controversial gay fairy tale focus of discussion at Chapel Hill library

Posted July 8, 2015

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— A controversial gay fairy tale read to students at Efland-Cheeks Elementary School generated more discussion Wednesday night during a Chapel Hill Public Library discussion series event.

"Between the Lines" is an effort to create a community forum for current topics of interest, library officials said.

Omar Currie, a teacher who resigned after parents complained that he read "King & King" to his third-graders in April, facilitated a discussion Wednesday evening about how diversity is taught to school-aged children.

“It was not a lesson in homosexuality, it was a lesson in bullying,” he said. “There was this idea I introduced sex into the classroom. That was not the case—no more than Cinderella.”

Currie read the book, which is about two princes falling in love and living happily ever after, and participate in a discussion about it at the library.

Library Director Susan Brown moderated the talk, which also included Chapel Hill Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt, UNC-Chapel Hill researcher Kathleen Gallagher and Brian Stum, vice chair of the library's board and an expert on childhood literature.

“The library is already a center for people who want to learn more, so creating a space for dialogue about hot topics is a natural extension of what they do,” Kleinschmidt said in a statement. “'Between the Lines' represents an ongoing commitment to cultural, civic and educational learning in Chapel Hill, and I am glad to participate in the first forum.”

Currie and vice-principal Meg Goodhand resigned from the school in June, even after school officials said the book was appropriate.

"I was surprised by the backlash and lack of support," Currie said. "The school is intended to teach kids to live in today's world."

Currie will teach fourth grade in Alexandria, Va., in the fall.

Library officials said checkouts of the book spiked in June.

53 Comments

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  • Todd Whitmer Jul 9, 2015
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    If you'd be so kind to read back in the thread, I was addressing a specific point which speaks to a misinformed individual and a very sensitive topic of indoctrination —I did not mean to divert drastically from the topic but there was an adjustment needed in perspective.

  • Cija Foster Jul 9, 2015
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    "I was surprised by the backlash and lack of support," Currie said. "The school is intended to teach kids to live in today's world."

    WRONG, that's the parents job, NOT THE SCHOOLS.

    School's job is to teach education, PERIOD

  • Gen Lee Jul 9, 2015
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    it is part of the downfall of the US because they are trying to change history which can't be changed. the Confederacy was fighting an oppressive government, which sadly we have an oppressive government right now. No doubt there will be another civil war.

  • Rob Creekmore Jul 9, 2015
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    I find it ironic that you site the removal of the confederate flag as a sign of the downfall the U.S. since the purpose of the confederacy was to disassemble the United States.

  • Gen Lee Jul 9, 2015
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    I almost 20 I think my parents kissing is gross. Now if I was kid listening to this I wouldn't know what was going on because kids these ages don't understand anything. They are too immature.

  • Paul Jones Jul 9, 2015
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    I don't agree with introducing a book like that to young kids. If you'll think back to when you were 8, you likely considered anyone kissing a bit "gross". What's quite likely, though, is that kids would have reacted exactly opposite of what was intended, too. On the bus ride home, some boy would call two boys the names of those kissing kings. It would happen. Count on it.

    Also, there is no conclusion one way or the other as to whether homosexuality is genetic or not. For certain, nobody is "born" with a sexual preference. That preference surfaces later in puberty. Is it genetic? Is it environmental factors? Scientists are still researching both.

    Initial conclusions, though not final, suggest that both biology (genetics) and environment play a role in sexual preference. I think that those initial findings are a reason some parents might get upset with this book. That, and the fact these kids are only 8!

  • Gen Lee Jul 9, 2015
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    It is that simple.

  • Todd Whitmer Jul 9, 2015
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    Nicely oversimplified. Congrats.

  • Gen Lee Jul 9, 2015
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    Well they don't have to participate in Christmas, Easter... if they don't want to. Don't pay attention to it.
    What third grader understands love? They aren't interested in anything like that when they are that young. They are interested in stars, etc.
    For putting on the child teach your kid to stand up for themselves. And if you didn't read it the first time I said don't pay attention to bullies. Just walk away and they will eventually leave you alone.

  • Ashley Moore Jul 9, 2015
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    In addition to teaching kids not to bully, we should also be teaching kids how to handle a bully. "Go tell an adult" will not always be a viable solution. Unfortunately, bullying does not stop when kids graduate. There are plenty of bullies in the workplace. If we teach kids early on about the effects of bullying AND how to handle being bullied, we will be preparing kids a lot better than we are now.

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