A former Maine Department of Education (DOE) official sent an email to employees drawing parallels between the death of George Floyd and a video of a kindergarten teacher explaining transgenderism, according to a Washington Free Beacon report.
The email, linked in the report published by the outlet Friday, was sent in May and references an advertisement from the Maine Republican Party focusing on the video that was included in a lesson titled, “LGBTQ+ Activism.” It was part of a larger online learning module called “Freedom Holidays: Celebrating an American Summer,” devised by Kailina Mills, who WMWT reported is a kindergarten teacher. In the now-private YouTube clip that was reposted by user James Corrigan, she states that a “transgender person is someone who the doctors made a mistake about when they were born,” adding that “some people when they get a little bit older realize that what the doctor said was not right.”
Mills created the module as part of “a free resource for online learning” called Maine Opportunities for Online Sustained Education (MOOSE), which was implemented as the state transitioned to online learning during the Chinese coronavirus pandemic. It was pulled from the site in May after mounting outrage among parents, according to the Beacon. In former DOE Associate Commissioner Kelli Deveaux’s reportedly department-wide email addressing the GOP advertisement, she focused on Mills’s video under the subheading “Political Season.”
“As anticipated, the attacks on our educators and our department are underway in the political disparaging of our education system nationally,” Deveaux wrote. She added that the video contains “one inartful sentence in which the teacher is explaining what LGBT stands for.”
Deveaux noted the DOE officials “have temporarily taken down the lesson in question and are determining if it should be updated or removed.” After focusing entirely on the video she made a reference to the death of George Floyd under the same subheading:
PLACING ALL OF THIS IN A BROADER CONTEXT – we have to stand firm against hate. 2 years ago we were all shocked to witness the murder of George Floyd, this weekend 10 people were murdered in Buffalo because of their race. Our work in education is more important than ever to end this cycle of violence and hate.
She also pointed out that “MOOSE was developed as a resource, and is not required in any way, for and by teachers during the emergency that was the pandemic.” According to the Beacon, Deveaux is no longer with the DOE, though the details around her departure are unclear, and the agency did not respond to the outlet’s request for comment.
In the GOP ad, a narrator states: “[n]early $2.8 million: that’s how much Governor Janet Mills spent of your tax dollars to create radical school lessons.” The video then goes on to show Kailina Mills’s video lesson. WMTW reported that the kindergarten teacher and Gov. Mills (D-ME) are not related, though they share a last name. “Biden’s American Rescue Plan, which Congress passed in March 2021, funneled additional funds to the MOOSE program,” according to the Beacon.
In the following lesson in the module, titled “Pride,” Mills posted a YouTube video called “The Blue’s Clues Pride Parade” showing gay bears, lesbian alligators, transgender beavers, non-binary dolphins, and other factions of the LGBTQ+2SIA represented as bright and colorful animals on floats traveling down a road. A drag queen sings about the LGBTQ+2SIA members as they travel in the video, which was posted by the Nickelodeon program Blue’s Clues and You. Mills then directed the students to create pride parade floats on a piece of paper.