Wells Road Intermediate School, an elementary school in Granby, Connecticut, has come under fire after secretly showing students a video celebrating “pride” month without notifying parents.
The video was played on June 1 for 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders, as part of the “Principal’s Message,” WFSB reported. The 45-second video, titled “Pride To Me,” showed several young children discussing what “pride” means to them.
For one boy named Jasper, who uses they/them pronouns, it meant that “nobody can tell you what to do.”
“I have dolls. I love my dolls. Boys can play with dolls, too,” Jasper said.
Mavis, a girl with two moms, believes “pride” means “just being myself and standing up for what I believe in.”
“Pride means you should be able to be free,” said Simon, a child who uses he/they pronouns. “All my life I never really felt like a boy, and I don’t really feel like a girl, so I’d rather be both.”
The rest of the children gave similar statements, with the message being that “pride” month is simply about doing what makes you happy.
Some parents only came to know about the video after their children came home and told them directly, according to WFSB.
Should “pride” month activities be done without parents’ permission?
A Board of Education meeting was held Wednesday night where parents and residents were allowed to voice their concerns.
However, parents’ responses varied, with some praising the school for showing it and others condemning the board for promoting a message that should be left up to parents to teach.
Michael Kramarenko, whose daughter attends the school, told the school board that they should have notified parents that the school would be celebrating “pride” month.
“We should be able to have the option to opt our students, our kids, out of it. Who are you to tell us what you’re going to teach our kids? We pay taxes, we have the right to know what our kids are going to learn,” he said, according to the Hartford Courant.
Another father said that while he supports “children of all walks of life,” he doesn’t believe that parents who support “pride” should “impede and trample upon” the rights of the parents who don’t.
The man said of the short video shown to students: “I was okay with it until it was the person who said — the child is like ‘I feel like a boy or girl sometimes.’”
The man refused to step down after using up his three minutes, and he and two other men were then seen getting into an argument in the back of the room, leading officers to intervene.
One father said that after watching the video, his son was questioning if it was still okay to be a boy.
“I asked my son, ‘Hey what did you take away from the video? Let’s have a dialogue …’ His words were ‘The video said something about it’s ok for a boy to be a girl.’ And then he asked me, he goes ‘Is it ok if I can be a boy?’” the man said, the Courant reported.
“I’m not against the video. I’m not for the video. All I’m saying is the video missed the mark. Whatever the intent was, the video missed it,” he said.
“The same way we keep religion, politics, everything out of school, keep sexuality out of school — leave it to the parents.”
Matt Brady, whose transgender son attends Granby Middle School, said he believes more kids should learn about LGBT topics, so that they’ll embrace students who come out as such.
“For those of you who think the kids are too young to know that transgender people and that kids who have two dads exist, I remind you that the fifth-graders at school are sitting in the same seats that my son sat in two years ago and there are kids at Wells Road right now that fit that description,” Brady said.
“When it comes to being a kid in the LGBTQ community, there are a certain percentage of kids who will definitely be against them … and there’s a percentage that will always defend them. It’s the kids in the middle that don’t know which way to go that make all the difference.”
The video, he said, teaches students to accept and respect classmates that are different, and not see them as “outcasts or freaks.”
School officials have defended playing the video, saying that their intention was to “remind students that it is ok to be who you are and still be treated with respect dignity, and kindness,” and they promised to communicate with parents more in the future, WFSB reported.