EL DORADO HILLS (CBS13) — School districts across the nation are working to become more inclusive and to teach acceptance when it comes to the LGBTQ community. But after an email sent to students in El Dorado County, some parents wonder how far is too far.
“I think this is a wake-up call for us as parents,” said Melissa Lyau.READ MORE: Carrie Underwood's 'The Denim & Rhinestones Tour' To Make Stop In Sacramento
Lyau had a lot of questions after a survey about sexual identity was sent to students at Marina Village Middle School. The form is titled “How I would like to be addressed.” In it are questions about gender identity, how students would like referred to, and a specific question that asks “do you consider yourself transgender?”
Bianca Wittenberg was shocked when her son showed it to her.
“When the school is just sending something directly to my child and I don’t know about it. I don’t know to have a discussion with them,” she said.
“I think school has drifted from the basics of arithmetic, reading, old school, to all these new terms being thrown at the children,” Lyau said. “And I think it’s confusing to the parents and to an adolescent. I cannot even imagine.”
Lyau has concerns about this topic of discussion in middle school, and both mothers say they are adamant that surveys like this from the school district need parental consent. They felt blindsided – and, apparently, the principal wasn’t aware the survey went out either.READ MORE: Blood Moon Total Lunar Eclipse Just One Of Mother Nature's Wonders In The Sky Right Now
In response to parents’ concerns, the principal of Marina Village Middle School sent out this email that read in part:
“A survey was sent to our students with the intent of creating a more welcoming environment for some of our students. In hearing from our community and students we realize that the survey has caused some confusion, upset many. We apologize for the issues or challenges this may have caused.”
“Our principal, I think he is really good. He was very responsive, very loyal to the students, loyal to the school. I don’t know if he knew about it ahead of time; doesn’t sound like he did,” said Wittenberg.
It’s not against the law to teach gender identity or ask questions, but state law does require parental consent. In this case, the email went to students’ emails and not parents.
Parents say it’s a mistake involving a sensitive issue.
“There are going to always be challenges, and it’s really just a matter of having an open discussion of saying this happened this went out. We are going to try to fix it,” said Wittenberg.MORE NEWS: Fire Damages Mobile Home In South Sacramento
The school district says it closed the survey immediately and deleted responses. The employee was placed on administrative leave while the issue was investigated and they will inform them of any potential disciplinary action. And protocols for schoolwide communication have been reviewed, which include thorough vetting and prior administrative approval.