#Family & Friends
Niki Hazel, Associate Superintendent-Curriculum and Instructional Programs
United States of America

MCPS has issued a statement that parents will 1) not be informed when inclusive (LGBTQ+) texts are going to be read in class and 2) that they can no longer opt out of these readings.

The change comes two months after Montgomery County school leaders approved several LGBTQ+ inclusive texts for use in district elementary school classrooms. Officials approved one new book per grade level and allowed parents to opt their kids out of the lessons if desired.

That changed on March 23 when the district also said parents would no longer be notified when LGBTQ+ inclusive lessons take place and no longer allowed to opt out.

The school district updated its messaging regarding the use of inclusive texts to the following:

"MCPS expects all classrooms to be inclusive and safe spaces for students, including those who identify as LGBTQ+ or have family members in the LGBTQ+ community. A broad representation of personal characteristics within curricular or instructional materials promotes this desired outcome. Therefore, as with all curriculum resources, there is an expectation that teachers utilize these inclusive lessons and texts with all students," the statement reads.
"As is standard practice, when planning for instruction teachers/schools are encouraged to utilize a variety of resources to continue to promote an inclusive environment as outlined in the MCPS Core Values and Board Policy. Students and families may not choose to opt out of engaging with any instructional materials, other than ‘Family Life and Human Sexuality Unit of Instruction’ which is specifically permitted by Maryland law. As such, teachers will not send home letters to inform families when inclusive books are read in the future."

Please email the form letter below (or create your own) to this list letting them know you do not support this decision to take away the parents’ rights!

Monifa_B_Mcknight@mcpsmd.org, Niki_T_Hazel@mcpsmd.org, Angela_M_Stevenson@mcpsmd.org, Stephanie_Williams@mcpsmd.org, Patrick_K_Murphy@mcpsmd.org, Elizabeth_M_Rogovoy@mcpsmd.org, Patricia_Kapunan@mcpsmd.org, Brenda_Wolff@mcpsmd.org, Karla_Silvestre@mcpsmd.org, Graciela_Rivera-oven@mcpsmd.org, Shebra_L_Evans@mcpsmd.org, Lynne_Harris@mcpsmd.org, Julie_Yang@mcpsmd.org, Rebecca_K_Smondrowski@mcpsmd.org, Arvin_kim@mcpsmd.org, Brian_S_Stockton@mcpsmd.org, Melissa_M_Sander@mcpsmd.org, Kristen_A_Callisto@mcpsmd.org, Eric_L_Guerci@mcpsmd.org, Claudia_V_Zegarra@mcpsmd.org, Janine_G_Bacquie@mcpsmd.org, Ellen_M_Gott@mcpsmd.org, Ruschelle_Reuben@mcpsmd.org, cindy_d_cairasco@mcpsmd.org, Luisa_A_Medina@mcpsmd.org, Natasha_Bolden@mcpsmd.org, Alexis_R_Lee@mcpsmd.org, Janita_I_Love@mcpsmd.org, Benjamin_G_Mourad@mcpsmd.org, Asashia_Y_Martin@mcpsmd.org, Yael_Astor@mcpsmd.org, Tierra_S_Sweat@mcpsmd.org, Isatou_Mbowe@mcpsmd.org

Form Letter 1:
To the directors and staff of MCPS,

Thank you for finally making everyone aware where you stand. Once again we find that you have flip flopped in 24 hours from supporting and honoring families rights and beliefs to the complete opposite. You have confirmed my distrust in this MCPS system for the last few years when you officially sent out your 5 things you need to know regarding the updated policy, confirming that my rights as a parent do not matter to you but only political parties, views and select groups.

You have completely neglected my right as a parent to decide for my kids who I know better than you, what they are capable of emotionally and maturely handling.

I am writing to voice my concern and disappointment.

You want us to trust and help you with the issues in the school per your recent video, but all you have done instead is push parents' voices out of the school and classroom. That appears to be your biggest problem is that you have broken the parent child relationship and made it toxic.

You have silenced the parents, but do not expect that as mama and papa bears we will let you just take away our rights, beliefs and religious rights.

Your data scores are horrendous and continue to decline yet you continue to advocate for “all inclusion and equity” yet you have silenced all religious rights and groups from Muslims to Judaism.

As a mother I’m completely disgusted and disappointed in the elected officials who are called to serve their community. You have served only one and that is your own agenda.

My voice will not be silenced anymore.

MCPS parent
Put name

Form Letter 2:
To the directors and staff of MCPS,

Please immediately rescind your decision to refuse an opt-out for parents who do not believe the “inclusive texts” are suitable for their child.

I know many parents who are willing to fight this fight, or instead take their kids out of MCPS schools and send them to private schools.

But public school is and should be for EVERYONE – people of every faith, every gender, every political party, every socioeconomic status, and every color. Inclusivity and representation are absolutely important.

Please also make space for people who don’t agree with these forced inclusive texts, especially those who don’t agree for religious reasons.

As a parent, I believe it is my right and responsibility to be informed and involved in my child's education.

I am seeing a pattern here, and I’m sure you are too – parents are being shut out at every turn on purpose! Are our children now children of the state? Have parental rights been eliminated from MCPS?

The answer is clear.

Please support true inclusivity, and rescind your decision immediately. Believe in parents. We want our kids to love and respect all others, and we will teach them.

Many thanks,
Parents at MCPS

We, the undersigned, call on the BOE and MCPS to reverse the statement made on March 23rd that changed the original stance on inclusive readings. We ask that parental rights be honored and that parents are given 1) advance notice of when inclusive readings will be read in class and 2) the option to opt out of the readings.

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The Allow Parents To Opt Out of Inclusive (LGBTQ+) Texts and Readings! petition to Niki Hazel, Associate Superintendent-Curriculum and Instructional Programs was written by K W and is in the category Family & Friends at GoPetition.