Education

Parents protest gay fairy tale read to Efland third-graders

Posted May 15, 2015 6:06 p.m. EDT
Updated May 16, 2015 9:10 a.m. EDT

— Dozens of angry parents demanded answers from Orange County Schools officials Friday evening after a third-grade teacher read a gay fairy tale to their children last week.

Efland-Cheeks Elementary School teacher Omar Currie read "King & King" to his class, but three parents complained that they weren't notified ahead of time that their children would hear a book about a homosexual man's quest for love and see a picture at the end of two princes kissing.

"These are my children. Who gives you the right to tell me what they can listen to and what they can hear in their school?" said Rodney Davis. "As a matter of fact, that is bullying me."

Parents said their third-graders are too young to learn about homosexuality.

"(You're) infiltrating young minds, indoctrinating children into a gay agenda and actively promoting homosexuality to steer our children in that direction," said Lisa Baptist.

Currie said he read the book to his class after one of his students was bullied.

"They only way to combat school bullying is teachers engaging in difficult, yet powerful, conversations with their students," he said.

Parents who support the book said Currie introduced his students to tolerance of all people.

"I appreciate the fact that the teacher was willing to address this issue and was willing to approach this topic in his classroom," Kim Grooms said.

Orange County Schools administrators upheld the use of the children's book in class after the first complaint, but they decided to hold a public meeting to address the subsequent complaints.

"The policy manual for the district stipulates that a meeting like this will occur. Also, it's important that stakeholders have an opportunity to have their voices heard in the educational program," school district spokesman Seth Stephens said.

The school district brought in extra Orange County deputies to keep a lid on tensions at the meeting.