Superintendent Defends Reading Transgender Book to 1st-Graders: ‘Diverse Books Consistent with Our Values’

Bellingham Schools Superintendent Greg Baker. Screeshot via Bellingham Schools.
Screenshot via Bellingham Schools

The superintendent of the Bellingham School District in the state of Washington responded to parents’ reactions to the report last week that a first-grade teacher read a transgender book to her young students, by defending his district’s practice of “reading diverse books and learning about all kinds of lives” as “consistent with our values in our strategic plan, The Bellingham Promise.”

In his response message, Superintendent Greg Baker did not appear to address parents’ concerns their alarm was ignored, but instead complained the national attention to the reading of I Am Jazz to first-graders, is “prompting hate speech and harassment based on our values as a district and our commitment to equitable, diverse and inclusive education.”

“We continue to diversify our library collections so that all families and children’s identities and experiences are reflected,” Baker (pictured) wrote, adding:

“I Am Jazz” is part of our library book collection in our elementary schools and has been in our libraries for several years. The message of “I Am Jazz” is a child reflecting on their own gender identity and that all people are unique and wonderful. Gender identity and expression are found in the Washington State Health and Physical Education standards.

As Breitbart News reported, Young America’s Foundation (YAF) broke the story that a Bellingham first-grade teacher read I Am Jazz to her young students.

When parents expressed their alarm to school board members, the officials reportedly refused to take action, including the president of the school board, Jennifer Mason, who also owns and operates WinkWink, a local sex toy boutique that self-describes as for “All-Ages” and “identity-inclusive.”

In June 2020, Klipsun Magazine, a student publication at Western Washington University, interviewed Mason among other business owners affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

According to the report:

WinkWink owner Jenn Mason used to live a life consumed by working at her downtown shop. Upon walking into the store, customers were greeted by a display of lingerie, sex toys and books showcasing a variety of sex positions. The back of the store was lined with dildos, cock rings, vibrators and more. Now, the glass door of WinkWink remains closed until further notice, and Jenn has been forced to move her business online.

The news report noted that Mason was working from home fulfilling orders and preparing to deliver them while caring for her disabled six-year-old daughter.

“Sex toy family delivery is sort of an odd family thing to do, but it gets us out of the house and the chance to talk,” Mason said.

The superintendent wrote, “regarding treatment of the adults who work with us”:

Our staff are the backbone of our education system, and we stand with all who are engaging in this key work regarding equity, diversity and inclusion.

Our zero tolerance policy regarding harassment, intimidation and bullying for our students applies to the treatment of any in our organization that results in their harassment, intimidation or bullying. We treat all adults, students and families in Bellingham Public Schools with dignity and respect.

Breitbart News reached out for comment to Baker for the original story.

Dana Smith, communications manager for Bellingham Public Schools responded:

Out of respect to families and children’s privacy, as well as to comply with federal privacy law, we aren’t able share details about our communications with families. However, we are confident that when families contact us with concerns, we respond in a timely manner.

Smith then referred Breitbart News to Baker’s above comments.

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