Maine Department of Education removes kindergarten LGBT lesson from website following backlash
The Maine Department of Education has removed a video introducing the concepts of sexual orientation and gender identity to kindergarten students from its website after it became the subject of an attack ad in the state’s upcoming gubernatorial election.
The Maine Republican Party, which is seeking to defeat incumbent Democratic Gov. Janet Mills in the gubernatorial election this fall, released an ad last week alleging that Mills spent $2.8 million in taxpayer funding on “radical school lessons.” The ad features a clip from a lesson plan designed for kindergarten students.
In the clip, teacher Kailina Mills described trans-identified individuals as people “the doctors made a mistake about when they were born.” She suggested that “when a baby is born, the doctors will tell the parents what gender they think that baby is.”
“Some people, when they get a little bit older, realize what the doctors said was not right,” she claimed. The ad cut back to a narrator asking, “Is this really what our kids should be learning in kindergarten, instead of math, science and reading?” The video concluded by lambasting Mills’ agenda as “just wrong for our kids and for Maine.”
The lesson on transgenderism is a portion of a six-minute video titled “Freedom Holidays,” which was part of the state’s “Kindergarten MOOSE Module.” As explained by the Maine Department of Education, the Maine Opportunities for Online Sustained Education module was “created to leverage the expertise of Maine educators to develop a free resource for online learning” and address “the inequitable access to in-person education faced by Maine students at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The resource consists of “300 project-based, interdisciplinary modules” designed for students in pre-kindergarten through grade 12, including the controversial “Freedom Holidays” video featuring Kailina Mills.
Mills announced on Facebook Friday that “the Maine Department of Education (MDOE) and Mills administration caved to pressure instead of standing up for some of the most vulnerable people, families, and students in Maine” by removing the video from the MOOSE Module.
The MOOSE Module website, as captured by the internet archiving tool the Wayback Machine on May 3, featured a module titled “Freedom Holidays: Celebrating an American Summer,” one of several “community” modules designed for students in pre-kindergarten through second grade. The link to the module now lands on a page reading “Access Denied,” indicating that the video has been removed from the website.
The video is still available on YouTube.
“We have learned about the Fourth of July, which celebrates the freedom of the United States from Great Britain. We’ve learned about Juneteenth, which celebrates the freedom of enslaved people. We’ve learned about Women’s Equality Day, which celebrates the freedom of women to vote,” Mills said in the video.
The lesson quickly devolved into a discussion on the LGBT movement.
“At this point in United States history, lots of people are free: free to vote, free to buy land and own homes, free to have a bank account, free to have a job that pays them money, free to do lots of things, but not everyone was free yet,” she maintained.
“People in this country who are LGBT-plus, we’re not free,” she declared. She acknowledged that kindergarten students “might have never heard that term” before outlining what each letter in the acronym stands for. Mills identified lesbians as “women who love other women,” gays as “men who love other men,” and bisexuals as “people who love both men and women.”
When Mills got around to explaining what the “T” in the acronym stands for, she made the statements featured in the Maine Republican Party’s ad. She explained that when LGBT people get older, “they might say the doctors told me that I was a man, but I’m really a woman.”
Mills maintained that “when they grow up and they can tell people that the doctors made a mistake about their gender, then they can transition to be the gender that they actually are.”
She characterized “transgender men” as “people who the doctors thought was a woman when they were born, but when they grew up, they could tell people that they’re actually a man and so they transition to be a man” and “transgender women” as the opposite.
The video also touched upon the “+” in the “LGBT+” acronym, designed to represent “a lot of other people who love in ways that society hasn’t always allowed.” She recalled a time when “only men and women were allowed to love each other” and “women were not allowed to love other women, men were not allowed to love other men, people were not allowed to transition to a different gender,” classifying that time in American history as “wrong.”
“Back then, when people were not allowed to love who they wanted to love or to be who they wanted to be, they were not able to live freely or happily.”
Additionally, the video highlighted “the movement for LGBT people to get the same rights as everyone else.” Mills incorrectly stated that the U.S. Supreme Court decided that “everyone can marry each other” in 2014. The Obergefell v. Hodges decision legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide, which she was referring to, came down in 2015.
“Anyone can marry who they want to because love is love,” the teacher summarized the decision as concluding. After praising Obergefell as a “huge success for the LGBT-plus movement,” she said that “people had to fight so that they could live the way they wanted to live.”
Mills concluded the video by indicating that “we’re going to learn today about three famous LGBT activists” who “fought so that they could love who they wanted to love and they could be who they wanted to be” and “fought so that all LGBT people could be free and be who they wanted to be and love whoever they wanted to love.” She announced that “you’re going to watch three videos about those people, and then you’re going to do a writing activity.”
While the “Freedom Holidays” video has received heightened attention following last week’s ad, the Twitter account Libs of TikTok posted an excerpt of the video on May 1.
The account also reported that “the lesson goes on and encourages 5-year-olds to celebrate pride and attend pride parades.” Screenshots of the lesson plan reveal a video about Pride Parades as well as an encouragement to “share your pride parade float with your family” and “talk with them about the way your float shows LOVE for the world.”
Mills completely defended the content of her video in her Facebook post: “It is a fact that I have taught preschool students who are transgender and non-binary, and it is a fact that I have worked with parents who are L, G, B, and T. Those children and those families deserve to be represented in their school curriculum. Public schools are for everyone and should, therefore, include everyone.”
“Just because a topic might feel difficult to discuss does not mean that children aren’t ready for it,” she added. “As a teacher with both a BA and M.Ed in Early Childhood Education, I know that discussing gender — in all its varieties — is age-appropriate for kindergarten students. I know that discussing different kinds of family structures (two moms, two dads, single moms, single dads, grandparents, adoption, etc.) is also age-appropriate.”
In her Facebook post, Mills pointed to an article from the Journal of the American Medical Association contending that “gender identity typically becomes constant at ages 5-7 years” as the justification for bringing up the topic with young children.
“Using accurate pronouns and receiving affirmation from families, teachers, peers, and doctors is suicide prevention, and this affirming care must begin as early as kindergarten because that’s when children are solidifying their gender identity," She said.
Deriding the removal of her module from the MOOSE Module curriculum as “discrimination,” Mills implied that “if Republicans had taken issue with the Juneteenth portion of the ‘Freedom Holidays’ unit because it included black people, I believe the MDOE and the Mills campaign would have reacted differently because they know that removing black people from the curriculum would be discrimination.”
She asked, “Why are Republicans’ attacks on LGBT+ children and families any different?”
“It is incredibly disappointing to see the MDOE and the Mills administration cave to that pressure. Our students deserve better than this. Our students deserve an inclusive community for all.”
The removal of the “Freedom Holidays” video from the MOOSE Module curriculum comes as Mills faces a challenging reelection bid from former Republican Gov. Paul LePage. The most recent poll of the race was conducted by Pan Atlantic Research and found Mills leading LePage 46% to 42%, within the margin of error. Mills was elected to office in 2018, capturing 50.9% of the vote against Republican Shawn Moody and Independent candidate Terry Hayes.
The outrage over the “Freedom Holidays” video comes as parents and community members across the U.S. have descended on school board meetings to express concern about sexually explicit material included in school curricula and libraries.
The 1776 Project PAC, which supports school board candidates opposed to including sexually explicit material and critical race theory in the classroom, saw its candidates perform quite well in school board elections that took place in Texas last month.
Ryan Foley is a reporter for The Christian Post. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org