School Defends Sending First Grader to Principal's Office for Misgendering Classmate

A sign protesting a recent North Carolina law restricting transgender bathroom access is seen in the bathroom stalls at the 21C Museum Hotel in Durham, North Carolina, May 3, 2016.
A sign protesting a recent North Carolina law restricting transgender bathroom access is seen in the bathroom stalls at the 21C Museum Hotel in Durham, North Carolina, May 3, 2016. | (Photo: Reuters/Jonathan Drake)

A public charter school in California has defended its decision to send a first grade student to the principal's office for not referring to her biologically male transgender classmate by the classmate's preferred pronoun.

Rocklin Academy provided a statement to The Christian Post on Monday, explaining that the law requires students to be called by their preferred gender. 

"State (CA Education Code Section 220) and federal law (Title IX) creates many classes of people that are protected from discrimination under the law. Religion, nationality, and gender are among the protected classes. Schools that receive state and federal funds — including all California charter schools — are required to abide by these laws," the school said.

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"In practical terms, this means Rocklin Academy is required by the law to call students by their preferred gender. The school has a legal responsibility to prevent or stop harassment of protected classes."

The first grader, a female student, had been sent to the principal's office for calling a transgender classmate "him" on the playground during the first week of school.

The school stressed stressed in its statement that the student was not "punished or disciplined in any way."

"In August — two months after a Rocklin Academy student (Student A) had begun wearing girl's clothing and asking to be called by a female name — another student (Student B) continued to tell her on the playground that she couldn't be a girl and referred to Student A as 'him,'" the school explained. "The principal talked to Student B, to better understand her questions about the Student A's transition, and to ask her to use the child's preferred name and pronoun. She assured Student B she was not in trouble. The teacher also let the Student B's parents know the child wasn't in trouble."

The school reasons that the child and the principal had a conversation similar to one that would occur in the case of "any other misunderstanding that occurs during the school day."

"Under the law, this is no different than a principal speaking to a student who singled out another child for their religious beliefs or their race."

The Rocklin Academy school board previously came under scrutiny after a biologically male kindergarten student was reintroduced to the class as a girl. During class, the teacher read aloud two children's books about transgenderism, which reports say sent 5-year-old kids home confused and even traumatized. Parents voiced their outrage at a board meeting last week about how they were not notified about the events in the classroom.

The California-based social conservative group Capitol Resource Institute was among the first to raise the alarm about the first grade child being sent to the principal's office. CRI's Karen England told Fox News that the female child went home upset because she had been called into the principal's office. According to Fox News, the mother sent the school a letter voicing her concerns.

"I stressed over and over with the principal that I am all for protecting the rights of [the transgender child], but my children have rights as well," the mother was quoted as writing in the letter. "It makes me sad that my daughter felt like she was punished for trying to be kind to the kid."

Alliance Defending Freedom, a national nonprofit dedicated to protecting religious liberties, is reportedly investigating the incident and the gender identity lessons in the classroom.

"Our focus is on ensuring that every student's privacy is protected and that parental rights, including the right to be notified that before children are exposed to gender identity teaching, are respected by the school officials," an ADF spokesman told Fox News.

Follow Samuel Smith on Twitter: @IamSamSmith Follow Samuel Smith on Facebook: SamuelSmithCP

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