CHARLOTTE Having been at the genesis of the now infamous House Bill 2 after its city council passed sweeping open ended changes to anti-discrimination ordinances, Charlotte drew the attention of state lawmakers again this week when they learned of a new and controversial anti-bullying curriculum for K-5 Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS). The curriculum included an assigned class reading and discussion of a book entitled Jacob’s New Dress for first-grade students of CMS.An anonymous letter from a self-proclaimed CMS teacher to lawmakers, obtained by North State Journal, sparked an outcry that quickly led to CMS dropping the book from the curriculum and choosing another in its place. The letter reads as follows:”Hi, I am a concerned teacher with CMS schools. Last week the county sent out sexual/gender harassment curriculum for all CMS schools, including elementary. They have titled this curriculum ‘Office of Civil Rights Sexual Harassment Prevention Lessons.’ These lessons go into detail about gender issues with K-5 students. The county also mandated that these lessons be taught before April 9th. As far as I know, parents will not be contacted before lessons begin. I have attached the 1st grade lesson, titled ‘Jacob’s New Dress.’ I am contacting you in hope that something can be done.”Contained in the first-grade curriculum are desired learning outcomes, such as the six-year-old students being “able to understand what sexual and gender-based harassment is and identify when it happens.”In response to reactions from Charlotte area lawmakers and legislative leadership, CMS legislative liaison Charles Jeter, himself a former Republican member of the N.C. House of Representatives, communicated that the first-grade curriculum had been changed to remove the assigned reading of “Jacob’s New Dress.””As you are aware, originally CMS was going to utilize a book for this curriculum titled “Jacob’s New Dress,” said Jeter in his note to lawmakers. “After listening to the concerns you’ve expressed and doing our own re-evaluation, we are no longer going to utilize that text and will instead use Red the Crayon, a book CMS has used many times before. All principals are being notified of this change immediately and we do not believe any use of ‘Jacob’s New Dress’ has been introduced and/or taught to any CMS student.””Red: A Crayon’s Story” tells a tale of a crayon with a red label, but is actually blue. The new book selection is to be used in an apparent allusion to gender identity disorder.At the time of press, it is unclear if lawmakers share similar concerns over the new title selection for first-grade CMS students.
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