(Daily Caller News Foundation) – An elementary teacher in Georgia has been fired after she read a book about gender identity to a fifth-grade class, defying a 2022 state law designed to keep “divisive” concepts out of the classroom.
Katherine Rinderle was fired from her position as a fifth-grade teacher at Due West Elementary in Cobb County after she opted to read the book “My Shadow is Purple” to her students, CNN reported. The book is described as a “heartwarming” tale about “being true to yourself and moving beyond the gender binary.”
In reading the book, the Cobb County school board declared Rinderle had violated at least six of its policies and administrative rules. Those policies and rules include those based on Georgia’s 2022 laws that restrict divisive concepts in the classrooms and offer greater transparency to parents in what is being taught to their children, CNN reported.
“We are very serious about keeping our classrooms focused on teaching, learning, and opportunities for success for students,” a statement from the school board read, according to Axios. “The board’s decision is reflective of that mission.”
Cobb County parent Nathaniel Darnell applauded the board’s decision, stating that parents “deserve to be treated with more respect and to not have harmful ideologies or controversial subjects introduced behind their backs.” the outlet reported.
Rinderle expressed her disappointment over the board’s decision, arguing that the school district was sending a “harmful message that not all students are worthy of affirmation in being their unapologetic and authentic selves,” CNN reported.
“This decision, based on intentionally vague policies, will result in more teachers self-censoring in fear of not knowing where the invisible line will be drawn. Censorship perpetuates harm and students deserve better,” Rinderle continued.
A Georgia school board voted along party lines to fire a teacher after officials said she improperly read a book on gender fluidity to her fifth grade class. https://t.co/py6pdy0TJe
— The Associated Press (@AP) August 18, 2023
One of the policies cited by Rinderle is the “Protect Students Act.” Signed in April 2022, the act seeks to keep divisive concepts out of the classroom, charging teachers to keep their political leanings to themselves. Similarly, in the codified “Parents Bill of Rights” signed by Republican Gov. Brian Kemp, more transparency was offered, allowing parents to have more of a say in the education of their children.
Kemp argued that in signing the bills, Georgia was putting “students and parents first by keeping woke politics out of the classroom.”
“Making sure parents have the ultimate say in their child’s education should not be controversial,” Kemp argued, according to NBC News
The school board’s decision refutes the ruling of a panel of three retired county educators who last week ruled against the superintendent’s recommendation to terminate Rinderle’s employment, despite acknowledging she had violated multiple policies, CNN reported.