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Concerns Raised Over Planned Transgender Awareness Performance At School

By Dillon Thomas

BOULDER COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – A scheduled performance, and videos shown in advance, at a Boulder County elementary school have raised concerns for some parents. Students at Superior Elementary School will learn about the importance of inclusivity, especially in relation to those in the transgender community.

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(credit: CBS)

While the school's principal issued an advance notice to parents about the presentation and videos, some parents felt the topic was being forced on children at a young age.

"This is fairly typical in the Boulder Valley School District, to have our students learn about inclusivity and about compassion to other people and their differences," said Randy Barber, Chief Communications Officer for the district.

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(credit: YouTube/Queer Kid Stuff)

According to the principal and the district, three videos will be shown to most children at the elementary school. The videos come from a YouTube channel named "Queer Kid Stuff."

The videos, which are not directly affiliated with those performing, address modern issues surrounding gender roles, identity and terminology. They were scheduled to be played in classrooms before the performance.

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(credit: YouTube/Queer Kid Stuff)

"Those differences are things that we believe, here in the Boulder Valley School District, should be embraced," Barber said.

However, not all parents agreed with the school's decision. One parent, who wished not to be identified, sent CBS4 a statement.

"(The lesson) goes beyond a simple message of tolerance and acceptance. [We support tolerance and acceptance, but this is simply not age-appropriate]," the parent wrote. "We are saddened that this highly controversial and divisive topic would be invited to be presented to such young children."

The parent also expressed displeasure in the performance that was scheduled for late November. A play, put on by "Phoenix, Colorado's Trans Community Choir," which addresses acceptance of all, no matter how they identify.

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(credit: Colorado Trans Community Choir)

A spokesperson for the choir told CBS4 the play was about a raven, which is commonly misidentified by other animals. Throughout the play, the animals are encouraged to accept the Raven for the individual it is. The play also encourages those of many diverse backgrounds to come together in unity.

The play is performed by Coloradans of many backgrounds, including children.

One concerned parent questioned if such a topic should be addressed with children as young as kindergartners.

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(credit: CBS)

Barber said the school district felt the performance was age-appropriate, and said previous performances at other schools were deemed appropriate by staff.

"We really don't believe that you can be too young to learn about inclusivity and differences in the community," Barber said.

One parents wished the school would require parents to sign off on a waiver in order to attend the performance, or watch the videos.

Barber said concerned parents are welcomed to attend the performance at the school. Or, if they felt it was too controversial, students could be excused from the performance and given a separate task during that time.

Dillon Thomas is a reporter at CBS4 and a Colorado native. He believes everyone has a story, and would love to share yours! You can find more of his stories by following him on Twitter, @DillonMThomas.

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