Local News

Controversial gay fairy tale focus of discussion at Chapel Hill library

Posted July 8, 2015 10:07 a.m. EDT
Updated July 8, 2015 11:24 p.m. EDT

— 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.