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Uncomfortable with school's choice of novel
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amother




OP


Post  Mon, Oct 07 2019, 9:34 pm
DD goes to a non-Jewish private school (no judgments please) for her educational needs as a dyslexic which the local Jewish school could not address adequately. Her confidence has soared there and they are very understanding of our needs and differences as Orthodox Jews. We thought long and hard before taking her out of the local Jewish school knowing the we would be exposing her to a more secular culture. What I did not expect is that the 6th grade English curriculum would include a novel about a transgender child's struggle with identity. I don't feel I can say anything to the school, but I am very uncomfortable with my DD being exposed to this at her age.

I would appreciate any advice or even a different perspective that would help me deal with this issue. I am sure she will come home with questions and ideas which will then expose my other children.

Thanks.
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amother




Coffee


Post  Mon, Oct 07 2019, 9:38 pm
I really feel for you,
Are you sure you cannot speak to the school about this book and either getting it out of the curriculum or at least for your child have a substitute book and she won't be in class for those sessions while they cover this book -- thats what I would do -- and arrange for her to write a paper on the substitute book. Particularly since its a private school they should be able to accommodate.
hugs and hatzlocha
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flmommy




 
 
 


Post  Mon, Oct 07 2019, 9:40 pm
Unless it’s a private transgender school I can’t imagine you are the only parent who has an issue. I would politely ask for a alternative book.
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FranticFrummie




 
 
 


Post  Mon, Oct 07 2019, 9:41 pm
Most 6th graders in the secular world are already quite aware of trans issues.

I think the book is a good idea, because it can help people understand what other people are feeling and thinking. You can have empathy for another person's struggles, withing condoning the way they choose to handle those struggles.

Talk to your child about body dysmorphia and gender dysphoria, and why therapy is so important for the mental health of people who are having these challenges. (BTW, many trans people have eating disorders as well, because gender and body issues often happen comorbidly.)

You can also talk to your kids about variant gene expression and chromosomal anomalies. People with genetic variations can have brains that are very different from the bodies they were born into.

This article might help you express yourself more clearly: https://www.psychologytoday.co.....ender

Be clear about what the Torah says about it, but make sure that you do it in a way that will not contribute to hate or bullying.
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groisamomma




 
 
 


Post  Mon, Oct 07 2019, 9:43 pm
Don't expect any support on this forum. Posters here (some that I can think of, especially) will reassure you that not only should you not worry but you should thank the school for helping you, a narrow-minded mother from the Dark Ages, raise your child to be open-minded and accepting of all people...what were the exact words?...of every race, religion, s-xual identity etc. Values that so much as hint at keeping a 6th grader at this tender age shielded from things like this are wrong, wrong, wrong on this forum.

With that being said, I teach 6th grade in public school and see firsthand the "literature" (trash) the kids are forced to read in the interest of enlightening them. My heart goes out to you but as a mother you had to make this tough decision and do what's right by your daughter. Things like this will come up. I'm surprised a private school didn't ask for a permission slip before sending this out as required reading. The good news is that if you choose to call them, and in a civil manner request that your child be given a different book on the same grade level, then the public schools must accommodate you. We have kids that can't read books with wizardry (J. Witnesses) and sometimes parents call that a book is not in line with their values. Teachers were always required to accommodate them. Maybe try that with this private school.

P.S. Contrary to (certain) popular beliefs, it might not hurt to ask a shaila of the rav that guided you when you made your initial decision. I'm sure he can help you keep a good balance with DD during this time.
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amother




Aquamarine


Post  Mon, Oct 07 2019, 10:09 pm
groisamomma wrote:
Don't expect any support on this forum. Posters here (some that I can think of, especially) will reassure you that not only should you not worry but you should thank the school for helping you, a narrow-minded mother from the Dark Ages, raise your child to be open-minded and accepting of all people...what were the exact words?...of every race, religion, s-xual identity etc. Values that so much as hint at keeping a 6th grader at this tender age shielded from things like this are wrong, wrong, wrong on this forum.

With that being said, I teach 6th grade in public school and see firsthand the "literature" (trash) the kids are forced to read in the interest of enlightening them. My heart goes out to you but as a mother you had to make this tough decision and do what's right by your daughter. Things like this will come up. I'm surprised a private school didn't ask for a permission slip before sending this out as required reading. The good news is that if you choose to call them, and in a civil manner request that your child be given a different book on the same grade level, then the public schools must accommodate you. We have kids that can't read books with wizardry (J. Witnesses) and sometimes parents call that a book is not in line with their values. Teachers were always required to accommodate them. Maybe try that with this private school.

P.S. Contrary to (certain) popular beliefs, it might not hurt to ask a shaila of the rav that guided you when you made your initial decision. I'm sure he can help you keep a good balance with DD during this time.


Love this post.
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Jewishfoodie




 
 
 


Post  Mon, Oct 07 2019, 10:09 pm
Having seen many Advanced Reader Copies for upcoming books this past year, I can say without hesitation that 60% of young adult material this year included identity crisis, transgender, and every alphabet person in between. (LGBTQ was updated I'm afraid..)

They are trying to stay "current". Religious schools of every single faith have a problem with this. They protest, they complain.. The problem is freedom of speech.

So, while you can definitely lodge a complaint, I can't think you will accomplish much if you're not doing it together with the entire grade.

It's a sick, sick world when you want to read a unicorn book to your granddaughter, only to find out, the unicorn is searching to find its identity...

Sorry for your troubles. I don't see the world doing a sudden rewind tho..

(coming from a mom who thought vampires and werewolfs were as sick as it would get.. I miss those innocent days..)
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FranticFrummie




 
 
 


Post  Mon, Oct 07 2019, 10:17 pm
OP, even if you get a different book assigned, what are you going to do when all of your child's classmates are talking about the book? They might discuss it on breaks, or in the lunchroom, where there's no teacher present to make sure your child is not exposed to the subject matter.

What are you going to do when your child gets curious, and find this book on the school library shelves?
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groisamomma




 
 
 


Post  Mon, Oct 07 2019, 10:21 pm
Jewishfoodie wrote:

SNIP
So, while you can definitely lodge a complaint, I can't think you will accomplish much if you're not doing it together with the entire grade.


OP, I'm going to advise against lodging any kind of formal complaint. Stay out of the national spotlight; one wrong move and the Liberals will eat you up in the media. Keep it contained to your DD-she's your only concern here. Let the entire rest of the grade raise their own kids while you do what you feel is best for your child.
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FranticFrummie




 
 
 


Post  Tue, Oct 08 2019, 9:43 am
groisamomma wrote:
OP, I'm going to advise against lodging any kind of formal complaint. Stay out of the national spotlight; one wrong move and the Liberals will eat you up in the media. Keep it contained to your DD-she's your only concern here. Let the entire rest of the grade raise their own kids while you do what you feel is best for your child.


Never mind worrying about the Liberals, this is just good advice in general, for everybody.

The conversations in your own home can far outweigh the outside influences. This is why it's crucial to have open and honest communication. Make sure your kids can come to you whenever they hear anything that seems odd or confusing, and don't shy away from the subject.
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sarahmalka




 
 
 


Post  Tue, Oct 08 2019, 9:51 am
OP I'm curious if you read the book for yourself? Can you tell us the title?
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SixOfWands




 
 
 


Post  Tue, Oct 08 2019, 10:34 am
I don't want to single out any reply -- too close to Yom Kippur. But in responding, please remember that there are posters here who have LGBTQ children and other relatives whom they love very much.

Please remember how difficult it is for these children to find their way in the Jewish world.

And OP, I would talk to your child about the Torah view, but also about how Torah does not mean that we are mean or bully or not nice to others.

I would also talk about how it applies to her, as a Torah-observant Jew trying to navigate her way through a school where there aren't a lot of other Torah observant Jews. Whether that makes her feel different, the way the protagonist does. How she deals with it, how she wishes others would treat her. Can she learn anything from the protagonist?
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Ruchel




 
 
 


Post  Tue, Oct 08 2019, 10:48 am
That's crazy and I went to public school
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sequoia




 
 
 


Post  Tue, Oct 08 2019, 10:48 am
Ruchel wrote:
That's crazy and I went to public school


That was a different time. We’re 80’s babies.
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emanresu




 
 
 


Post  Tue, Oct 08 2019, 3:05 pm
groisamomma wrote:
Don't expect any support on this forum. Posters here (some that I can think of, especially) will reassure you that not only should you not worry but you should thank the school for helping you, a narrow-minded mother from the Dark Ages, raise your child to be open-minded and accepting of all people...what were the exact words?...of every race, religion, s-xual identity etc. Values that so much as hint at keeping a 6th grader at this tender age shielded from things like this are wrong, wrong, wrong on this forum.

With that being said, I teach 6th grade in public school and see firsthand the "literature" (trash) the kids are forced to read in the interest of enlightening them. My heart goes out to you but as a mother you had to make this tough decision and do what's right by your daughter. Things like this will come up. I'm surprised a private school didn't ask for a permission slip before sending this out as required reading. The good news is that if you choose to call them, and in a civil manner request that your child be given a different book on the same grade level, then the public schools must accommodate you. We have kids that can't read books with wizardry (J. Witnesses) and sometimes parents call that a book is not in line with their values. Teachers were always required to accommodate them. Maybe try that with this private school.

P.S. Contrary to (certain) popular beliefs, it might not hurt to ask a shaila of the rav that guided you when you made your initial decision. I'm sure he can help you keep a good balance with DD during this time.


I respect this so much.
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sub




 
 
 


Post  Tue, Oct 08 2019, 3:12 pm
SixOfWands wrote:
I don't want to single out any reply -- too close to Yom Kippur. But in responding, please remember that there are posters here who have LGBTQ children and other relatives whom they love very much.

Please remember how difficult it is for these children to find their way in the Jewish world.

And OP, I would talk to your child about the Torah view, but also about how Torah does not mean that we are mean or bully or not nice to others.

I would also talk about how it applies to her, as a Torah-observant Jew trying to navigate her way through a school where there aren't a lot of other Torah observant Jews. Whether that makes her feel different, the way the protagonist does. How she deals with it, how she wishes others would treat her. Can she learn anything from the protagonist?

This is what I wanted to say.
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amother




Mauve


Post  Tue, Oct 08 2019, 3:17 pm
FranticFrummie wrote:
Most 6th graders in the secular world are already quite aware of trans issues.

I think the book is a good idea, because it can help people understand what other people are feeling and thinking. You can have empathy for another person's struggles, withing condoning the way they choose to handle those struggles.

Talk to your child about body dysmorphia and gender dysphoria, and why therapy is so important for the mental health of people who are having these challenges. (BTW, many trans people have eating disorders as well, because gender and body issues often happen comorbidly.)

You can also talk to your kids about variant gene expression and chromosomal anomalies. People with genetic variations can have brains that are very different from the bodies they were born into.

This article might help you express yourself more clearly: https://www.psychologytoday.co.....ender

Be clear about what the Torah says about it, but make sure that you do it in a way that will not contribute to hate or bullying.


IMO, this. Your DD is already an adult, or nearly so, according to Halacha. There is no harm in her being educated about the reality of the world, and you can keep in in a Torah perspective. But you should speak with your Rav.
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dankbar




 
 
 


Post  Tue, Oct 08 2019, 3:22 pm
Could you schedule her private reading tutoring session, out of the classroom, at the same time of this class?
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HEviatar




 
 
 


Post  Tue, Oct 08 2019, 3:49 pm
SixOfWands wrote:
I don't want to single out any reply -- too close to Yom Kippur. But in responding, please remember that there are posters here who have LGBTQ children and other relatives whom they love very much.

Please remember how difficult it is for these children to find their way in the Jewish world.

And OP, I would talk to your child about the Torah view, but also about how Torah does not mean that we are mean or bully or not nice to others.

I would also talk about how it applies to her, as a Torah-observant Jew trying to navigate her way through a school where there aren't a lot of other Torah observant Jews. Whether that makes her feel different, the way the protagonist does. How she deals with it, how she wishes others would treat her. Can she learn anything from the protagonist?


I think this is a lovely response. I didn’t even consider how much a girl with her own “difference” might benefit from such a book.

Look, I am not going to tell you to feel any certain way. But I implore you to consider how you may treat a gay person. Whatever you feel about their choices, would you want to teach your child condemnation, or allow her to think critically about how she wants to treat people differently than her?

Such a book will not make your child like the girl in the book, but it will make your child understand that when others do differently than you all you need to do is focus on yourself.

If you do end up approaching the school however, make sure your child is unaware so that if they do hear anything about the content in the book, she is not discouraged from asking you about it.

Best of luck, we all know what its like to be judged for our parenting, please don’t take anything that I said as criticism. Of course you know what is best for your child, I just wanted to give you some of my thoughts.
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shmosmom




 
 
 


Post  Tue, Oct 08 2019, 4:09 pm
HEviatar wrote:
I think this is a lovely response. I didn’t even consider how much a girl with her own “difference” might benefit from such a book.

Look, I am not going to tell you to feel any certain way. But I implore you to consider how you may treat a gay person. Whatever you feel about their choices, would you want to teach your child condemnation, or allow her to think critically about how she wants to treat people differently than her?

Such a book will not make your child like the girl in the book, but it will make your child understand that when others do differently than you all you need to do is focus on yourself.

If you do end up approaching the school however, make sure your child is unaware so that if they do hear anything about the content in the book, she is not discouraged from asking you about it.

Best of luck, we all know what its like to be judged for our parenting, please don’t take anything that I said as criticism. Of course you know what is best for your child, I just wanted to give you some of my thoughts.
.
You are now my favorite ima responder on imamother
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